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Match Report: Harlequins 28 Wigan 47
Posted by Bilko on February 10 2008 - 16:16

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Harlequins v Wigan Warriors. Engage Super League XIII Round 1.
Saturday 9th February 2008. Kick Off 3:00pm at Twickenham Stoop.

Thoughts on the Match

Well for 24 hours at least we went top of Super League for the first time since 14th September 2001 but this was not a great performance in my opinion.

The last twenty four minutes was 31-0 to Wigan but before then Quins were well on top with our defence struggling badly.

For the entire game I can't remember us holding out close to our own line. It probably did happen but mostly it was a case of - if Quins get close, they scored!

We also looked clueless in attack - until the last twenty minutes when Quins weak pack tired badly. I kept commenting during the game that we weren't making any breaks, whilst the Londoners made plenty!

But we finished well as we always do and I suppose a win is a win and I can except that as long as we improve next week against Castleford. I think we beat the weakest side in the league yesterday and 28 points conceded was not good enough. They'll have to improve a lot better in the coming weeks.

Story of the Match

For the third season in a row Wigan began with an error from Sean O'Loughlin (who soon went off injured and did not return). A forward pass in France 2006, a penalty conceded against Warrington in 2007 and this year he threw a stray pass which ex Warrior Danny Orr gobbled up and BANG before you knew it we were 6-0 down. Matt Gafa scored the try with another ex Warrior Henry Paul adding the extras.

But Wigan responded well with Darrell Goulding scoring an excellent try. Trent Barrett and Richard Mathers combined to set it up but Goulding had to beat a couple of defenders before scoring. Pat Richards converted - 6-6.

Wigan then got two penalties in good attacking position and much to the consternation of some fans - they went for goal. Personally I was happy in the knowledge that penalty goals have been vital in many wins in the last couple of years. Didn't quite prove vital in this match but it give us the lead for the first time at 10-6.

Harlequins hit back though when a great mazy run from Mark McLinden was rewarded with four points. Paul missed the conversion so it was now 10-10.

Having retired Shane Millard in the off season, Wigan showed great faith in young hooker Mike McIlorum by giving him the chance rather than bringing in an experience back up hooker to Higham, and he rewarded that faith here by scoring the first of two tries on the day. This was a typical hookers try. From short yardage he forced his way over and Pat converted to make it 16-10.

At that point their were about 6 minutes to half time and I'm thinking "just get to the break" but no just with no long left a kick from Gafa was touched down by Scott Hill - Paul converted and 16-16 would be the half time score.

Wigan normally come out stronger in second halves and in the end it did prove that way but not before being made to sweat as the Londoners scored two tries early in the second half. It was all off the back of Wigan making mistakes, either fumbling or conceded penalties. After Paul had kicked a penalty goal, Harlequins were breaking through the Wigan line with ease first Paul and then Gafa (with his second) scored. Paul converted the first and missed the second but they had built a lead of 28-16 with 25 minutes to go. No team in their own back yard should cock that up!

Wigan were looking desperate. Defending poorly and you really couldn't see them coming back but I believe two big hits put in by Andy Coley lifted the teams spirits. Back to back from the play the ball Coley floored Harlequins attackers with clean hits! Hope we see more of that this season.

Bouyed by the big hits and also the fact they stopped conceding penalties, Wigan began to take advantage of Quins tiring defence and with that the gaps began to appear.

After Harrison Hansen went over in the 56th minute, Darrell Goulding got his second try on the hour mark and all of a sudden a healthy lead had been wiped out.

The Londoners collapsed in the final quarter with Wigan dominating possession. Feka Paleaaesina didn't make it as my "top player" but he was outstanding and topped his performance with a try. McIlorum then got a second before Mathers capped it off with a debut try as he capitalised on poor Quins defending. Trent Barrett also added a drop goal and Richards finishing with 9 kicks from 9 - which took his 100% pre season record into league action!

Game Breaking Moment

Personally I think the game turned in our favour when with Harlequins on the attack Andy Coley put in two massive back to back hits which flattened Quins players on their backsides.

Top Player

Darrell Goulding - Two tries. I was making the point in the match preview that Goulding could keep Karl Pryce out of the side when he gets fit - and he's made a great start to proving that point.

Reaction to the Action

Brian Noble: "The last three years I've never had an easy game here. It was going that way and it wasn't until halfway through the second half that we improved. We kept our determination and kept things simple and I think they ran out of petrol. They're tough to beat here - you look at their record and you know you've got to come here and keep things in order. They've got some good players in their squad and are a handful."

Quins Coach Brian McDermott: "We can challenge anyone and beat anyone. I thought we played some inventive stuff that we didn't last year and defended heroically at times. When we came out for the second half we were really pumped up and that was a problem last year. We didn't run out of juice - there was some areas of the game though we didn't handle well. There were a couple of momentum changes in the game - errors from us that maybe cost us. The transition from defence to offensive wasn't good enough in the second half - I don't think it was either an energy or fitness thing."

Team Sheets

- Harlequins Position Wigan -
1 Mark McLinden Full Back Richard Mathers 1
2 Jon Wells Winger Liam Colbon 14
3 Matt Gafa Centre Darrell Goulding 3
4 David Howell Centre George Carmont 4
5 Rikki Sherriffe Winger Pat Richards 5
7 Danny Orr Stand Off Trent Barrett 6
6 Scott Hill Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Karl Temata Prop Andy Coley 15
9 Chad Randall Hooker Mick Higham 9
10 Louis
McCarthy-Scarsbrook
Prop Iafeta Paleaaesina 10
13 Rob Purdham 2nd Row Phil Bailey 12
20 Jon Grayshon 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 16
23 Henry Paul L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
- - - - -
14 Julien Rinaldi Substitute Mike McIlorum 17
16 Gareth Haggerty Substitute Paul Prescott 19
17 Danny Ward Substitute Joel Tomkins 22
18 Joe Mbu Substitute Eamon O'Carroll 24

Score Sheet

Harlequins 28 --- Wigan Warriors 47
Tries (5):
Matt Gafa 2
Mark McLinden
Scott Hill
Henry Paul
--- Tries (7):
Darrell Goulding 2
Mike McIlorum 2
Harrison Hansen
Iafeta Paleaaesina
Richard Mathers
Goals:
Henry Paul 4/6
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 9/9
- --- Drop Goals:
Trent Barrett 1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

3rd Minute Harlequins 04 Wigan 00 Try: Matt Gafa
- Harlequins 04 Wigan 00 H.Paul Missed Conversion (0/1)
9th Minute Harlequins 04 Wigan 04 Try: Darrell Goulding
- Harlequins 04 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
22nd Minute Harlequins 04 Wigan 08 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (2/2)
25th Minute Harlequins 04 Wigan 10 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (3/3)
28th Minute Harlequins 08 Wigan 10 Try: Mark McLinden
- Harlequins 10 Wigan 10 Conversion: Henry Paul (1/2)
32nd Minute Harlequins 10 Wigan 14 Try: Mike McIlorum
- Harlequins 10 Wigan 16 Conversion: Pat Richards (4/4)
37th Minute Harlequins 14 Wigan 16 Try: Scott Hill
- Harlequins 16 Wigan 16 Conversion: Henry Paul (2/3)
Half Time Harlequins 16 Wigan Warriors 16
42nd Minute Harlequins 18 Wigan 16 Penalty Goal: Henry Paul (3/4)
45th Minute Harlequins 22 Wigan 16 Try: Henry Paul
- Harlequins 24 Wigan 16 Conversion: Henry Paul (4/5)
50th Minute Harlequins 28 Wigan 16 Try: Matt Gafa
- Harlequins 28 Wigan 16 H.Paul Missed Conversion (4/6)
56th Minute Harlequins 28 Wigan 20 Try: Harrison Hansen
- Harlequins 28 Wigan 22 Conversion: Pat Richards (5/5)
61st Minute Harlequins 28 Wigan 26 Try: Darrell Goulding (2)
- Harlequins 28 Wigan 28 Conversion: Pat Richards (6/6)
66th Minute Harlequins 28 Wigan 32 Try: Iafeta Paleaaesina
- Harlequins 28 Wigan 34 Conversion: Pat Richards (7/7)
74th Minute Harlequins 28 Wigan 38 Try: Mike McIlorum (2)
- Harlequins 28 Wigan 40 Conversion: Pat Richards (8/8)
78th Minute Harlequins 28 Wigan 41 Drop Goal: Trent Barrett
79th Minute Harlequins 28 Wigan 45 Try: Richard Mathers
- Harlequins 28 Wigan 47 Conversion: Pat Richards (9/9)
Full Time Harlequins 28 Wigan Warriors 47

Referee

Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven)

Penalties Conceded

Harlequins 9 Wigan 9

Goal Line Drop Outs Forced

Harlequins 0 Wigan 0

Match Attendance

8.041

Match Weather

Lovely Sunny Day. Very Warm for the time of year.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 13 Round 1

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Leeds Rhinos 2 2 0 0 50 22 +28 4
2 Wigan Warriors 1 1 0 0 47 28 +19 2
3 Warrington Wolves 1 1 0 0 32 20 +12 2
4 Catalans Dragons 1 1 0 0 21 14 +7 2
5 Wakefield Wildcats 1 1 0 0 26 24 +2 2
6 Hull Kingston Rovers 2 1 0 1 36 42 -6 2
7 Bradford Bulls 1 0 0 1 24 26 -2 0
8 St Helens 1 0 0 1 22 24 -2 0
9 Castleford Tigers 1 0 0 1 14 21 -7 0
10 Hull FC 1 0 0 1 20 32 -12 0
11 Harlequins 1 0 0 1 28 47 -19 0
12 Huddersfield Giants 1 0 0 1 10 30 -20 0

Round 4 Fixture Brought Forward
Sat 2 Feb Leeds Rhinos 20 Hull Kingston Rovers 12 18,467

Round 1 Results
Fri 8 Feb Warrington Wolves 32 Hull FC 20 11,026
Sat 9 Feb Harlequins 28 Wigan Warriors 47 8,041
Sat 9 Feb Castleford Tigers 14 Catalan Dragons 21 7,060
Sun 10 Feb Huddersfield Giants 10 Leeds Rhinos 30 15,629
Sun 10 Feb Hull Kingston Rovers 24 St Helens 22 8,713
Sun 10 Feb Wakefield Wildcats 26 Bradford Bulls 24 9,851

Comments
jonnycraven on February 14 2008 - 09:16
a well earned win and a great way to kick off the season
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