On the back of Good Friday, the two home defeats to Hull KR last
season and losing the lead from 10-0 up - that was a good response
from Wigan today.
It wasn't pretty in a very defensive game but
we reacted and didn't collapse into a slump of bad form. And now,
after Saints defeat today, we are still level with them having
played just 3 home matches and travelled away to our two
Nothing is pretty from Wigan at the moment - we are certainly
not flowing with class and emphatic skill - but we're in the top
six and backing this up on Friday against Wakefield (who are
playing in France tonight) and we'll have repaired a lot of Good
The effort was certainly there today. Not much
conviction but Hull KR proved twice at the JJB last year that they
can defend well.
Thomas Leuluai was superb with some excellent big shots whilst Liam Colbon with a positive display on the back of a poor derby.
Perhaps the key to Wigan's win today was holding out for four
consecutive sets right on half time. For about 22 tackles they
clung on to a 4-0 break lead and although Hull KR did come back to
take the lead - that phase of play was pivotal to the final
Must praise the following from Hull KR today -
excellent showing once again, outdoing the likes of Leeds and
Bradford in recent times by far today.
I was told that Wigan were sent straight to Orrell after Friday's
shambolic display to look back at the tape and review that sorry
embarrassing show and whether that is true or not - at least today
our discipline was much, much better. Very few mistakes and very
few conceded penalties.
In fact I think Ben Thaler had a great
game, the game flowed for both sides and that's what we all want
Wigan began much the stronger and early with a try from Liam
Colbon in the 4th minute. Richards missed a difficult touchline
conversion and for the rest of the half, Wigan pressed but were
met by stiff defence from the visitors..
That early try would prove to be the only score of the first
half. Wigan in the main kept Rovers in check until just before
half time when they had four consecutive sets on the Wigan line.
Led superbly I thought by scrum half James Webster they put in
some neat kicks, which caused drop outs, but Wigan managed to see
them out until half time and maintain their hard fought 4-0 lead.
Into the second half and Wigan's lead was stretched to 10-0 on
50 minutes. Great break down the left, I think from Carmont, saw
him send Liam Colbon over for his second. It was excellent work
and passing in heavy traffic and also nice to see centre and
winger combining like that. Richards hit a great kick off the
sideline to make it 10-0.
Wigan were looking comfortable until a 2 minute spell on the
hour saw Hull KR take the lead. Both tries came from deep breaks -
first Chev Walker finished off a break from Webster then Clint
Newton finished off another break. Paul Cooke converted both to
make it 12-10 to Hull KR. The Wigan fans got a bit nervous,
thinking "here we go" but Wigan did not collapse.
A penalty goal to level the scores on 68 minutes settled the
nerves and it was Wigan who did all the late pressing. With just
four minutes left they had an opportunity to drop goal but didn't
take it - I was screaming at them for not doing so but they swung
it out wide to Calderwood who on his wing stepped back inside to
go over and another touchline conversion from Pat made it 18-12 /
Rovers kick off then failed to go 10 metres and from that Wigan
never looked like losing. They comfortably saw it out although
Stuart Fielden wants a rocket up his arse for that offload he made
in the final moments which felt straight into opposition hands. It
was well in KR's half but completely unnecessary when protecting a
lead in the dying moments.
In the end a fair result I feel. Not much between these two sides but Wigan definetly just about shaded it.