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Match Report: Warrington 30 Wigan 22
Posted by Bilko on January 13 2008 - 17:56

Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors. Lee Briers Testimonial (Friendly).
Sunday 13th January 2008. Kick Off 3:00pm at Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Thoughts on the Match

What a shocking first 40 minutes that was from Wigan. I reckon we completed about 4 sets and 18-6 was a half time score which flattered us.

But in the end I suppose rustiness can be an excuse and when you look at the final score of 30-22 - considering we had Richie Mathers, Mark Calderwood, Karl Pryce, George Carmont and Stuart Fielden all missing - it doesn't seem that bad an effort.

Still doesn't excuse the shocking handling and the amount of penalties conceded. Even Trent was off colour with a 40/20 attempt out on the full.

Story of the Match

Prior to kick off we had a minutes applause for the late great Mike Gregory which was a bit emotional. Really we should have been attending today in a match for his honour rather than a Great Britain reject - hopefully an annual Mike Gregory cup clash or something will come about in future years.

Wigan came out in handcuffs it seemed because they couldn't take a pass. Every set the ball was going to ground and Warrington took advantage of gifted field position. In defence we were equally as bad, conceding penalties galore. A penalty allowed Warrington to get the games first score in the 5th minute as Louis Anderson crashed over on his Wire debut. Briers converted - 6-0.

Moments later Thomas Leuluai completely made a mess of an attempted kick to the corner. He was sporting a new shaven haircut which made him look like Dennis Moran and that attempt was Moran like. Warrington soon had good field position again and Andy Bracek scored which after Briers converted made it 12-0 on 9 minutes.

I was texting someone updates during the game which double up today as handy notes and one of them says "18 minutes - first completed set by Wigan". Says it all!

Wigan still continued to struggle though and had this been a league match Warrington probably would have racked up the points. But low on fitness they never turned the screw on us. They did go further ahead on the half hour as Lee Briers went over under the posts and then converted. 18-0 was probably a fair reflection on how bad we'd been.

On 35 minutes Wigan finally had a good set and this allowed Paul Prescott to walk in under the posts for an easy score. Richards converted and at 18-6 I'm wondering how we are still in the game.

Late in the first half Wigan finished strongly on the attack. About 20 metres out and trying to get a score right on the half time hooter, Trent Barrett was hit late by Louis Anderson. This resulted in a sin bin. Didn't see the hit myself so I can't comment - there was certainly a bad one in the second half from Darrell Goulding (I think) on a Warrington player which was red cardable in my eyes. Anyway despite the hooter having sounded Wigan chose to tap the penalty rather than kick at goal but the one play kick to the corner was tame and easy to defend - it summed up our first half really.

All last season Wigan did what they did here. They improved after the half time break. Early second half, helped greatly with Warrington being temporarily down to twelve, Wigan broke down the left and Joel Tomkins went over and all of a sudden it was 18-12 despite our non performance.

Then on 48 minutes came the gamebreaker. Wigan were on the attack but threw an interception and despite being chased down, Warrington had the numbers which allowed Simon Grix to score and the conversion made it 24-12.

The game then became a bit flat as substitutions took hold. On 63 Warrington sealed the match with a try from Matt King in the corner. Briers converted to make it 30-12.

Wigan though finished on top with two late tries from Leuluai and Darrell Goulding going over but the damage had been done in the first half hour. Had we completed some sets early doors I think we'd have won today - but then again it is the Halliwell Jones Stadium and once again we've failed to win there in what is now 6 attempts.

Reaction to the Action

Brian Noble: "It was a good "hit-out". We knew we were going to be heavy-legged, having just got back from a hard week's training in Lanzarote. We dropped a lot of ball and looked scruffy but we got some contact into us and we now have a template to work on. I'm really pleased with where we're at. We have five or six players to come into the team."

Warrington coach Paul Cullen: "We're though the game unscathed. It was good prep and, all in all, a very decent day's work. It was a great chance for the young players to get some more game time, and the new guys slotted in quite sweetly. We won't be making any dramas about the win, though. It was a good performance and keeps us going in the right direction."

Team Sheets

- Warrington Position Wigan -
1 Chris Bridge Full Back Pat Richards 5
2 Chris Riley Winger Liam Colbon 14
3 Andy Bracek Centre Sean O'Loughlin 13
4 Matt King Centre Darrell Goulding 3
5 Paul Johnson Winger Andrew Thornley 30
6 Lee Briers Stand Off Trent Barrett 6
7 Michael Monaghan Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Paul Rauhihi Prop Andy Coley 14
14 Mark Gleeson Hooker Mick Higham 9
10 Steve Pickersgill Prop Iafeta Paleaaesina 10
11 Louis Anderson 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 16
12 Ben Westwood 2nd Row Phil Bailey 12
13 Vinnie Anderson L.Forward Joel Tomkins 22
- - - - -
9 Simon Grix Substitute Mike McIlorum 17
15 Rob Parker Substitute Paul Prescott 19
16 Mike Cooper Substitute Ben Kavanagh 23
22 Ben Harrison Substitute Eamon O'Carroll 24
18 Matty Blythe Substitute Sam Tomkins 29
19 Lee Mitchell Substitute Shaun Ainscough 31
20 Adam Neal Substitute Sam Reay 40

Score Sheet

Warrington Wolves 30 --- Wigan Warriors 22
Tries (5):
Louis Anderson
Andy Bracek
Lee Briers
Simon Grix
Matt King
--- Tries (4):
Paul Prescott
Joel Tomkins
Thomas Leuluai
Darrell Goulding
Lee Briers 5/5
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 3/3
Sam Tomkins 0/1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

5th Minute Warrington 04 Wigan 00 Try: Louis Anderson
- Warrington 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Lee Briers
9th Minute Warrington 10 Wigan 00 Try: Andy Bracek
- Warrington 12 Wigan 00 Conversion: Lee Briers
29th Minute Warrington 16 Wigan 00 Try: Lee Briers
- Warrington 18 Wigan 00 Conversion: Lee Briers
35th Minute Warrington 18 Wigan 04 Try: Paul Prescott
- Warrington 18 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards
40th Minute Warrington Sin Bin Louis Anderson (Late Tackle)
Half Time Warrington Wolves 18 Wigan Warriors 06
44th Minute Warrington 18 Wigan 10 Try: Joel Tomkins
- Warrington 18 Wigan 12 Conversion: Pat Richards
48th Minute Warrington 22 Wigan 12 Try: Simon Grix
- Warrington 24 Wigan 12 Conversion: Lee Briers
63rd Minute Warrington 28 Wigan 12 Try: Matt King
- Warrington 30 Wigan 12 Conversion: Lee Briers
70th Minute Warrington 30 Wigan 16 Try: Thomas Leuluai
- Warrington 30 Wigan 18 Conversion: Pat Richards
78th Minute Warrington 30 Wigan 22 Try: Darrell Goulding
- Warrington 30 Wigan 22 Conversion Missed (S.Tomkins)
Full Time Warrington Wolvers 30 Wigan Warriors 22


Ian Smith (Oldham)

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