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Match Preview: Whitehaven (H) Challenge Cup Round 5 - 12.05.08 @ JJB Stadium.
Posted by Bilko on May 10 2008 - 00:13

Wigan Warriors v Whitehaven - Carnegie Challenge Cup Round 5.
Monday 12th May 2008. Kick Off 7:30pm at JJB Stadium.

Well after last week's scandalous performance in Cardiff, I'm really not sure if a cup match is exactly what we need or the last thing we need. Only time will tell I suppose but the SM Pia match last month did nothing for us.

Brian Noble is talking about the "need to respond" but how can you respond in a match like this. You could win 30-0 and some would see that as a poor show.

One key quote from Noble was - "Excuses are running out for certain people." For me not certain people but the whole bloody team is running out of excuses. No one in that 17 is standing up and saying - right I'm going to lead us out of this mess, I'm going to take control and lead us around the park. Trent Barrett did it in patches for us last season but this year he's been a total dead duck and no one else is coming forward.

In the centres and wing positions I think we are getting some decent returns, especially when you consider that we are some lame in attack. 1, 6, 7, 9 and 13 however are producing nothing in attack. They have offered 7 league tries (four of them by Leuluai) between them this season. Leeds full back Brent Webb has scored more them those five together on his own!!

Just notice the difference as I compare with the returns of what I would consider the first choice if fit 1, 6, 7, 9 and 13's of those sides above us in the table.

Leeds in total have 24 tries from those positions.
Saints have 19 tries and that includes dead duck Paul Sculthorpe.
Catalans have 17 with their 7 (Casey McGuire) having played just 5 times.
Bradford have just 5 from those positions.
Warrington have 14 tries from those positions.
Wakefield have just 6 tries but Brad Drew and Jason Demetriou have both been long term injured.

Now we could argue all day over whether I've got the right players for each team as their regular 1, 6, 7, 9 and 13 in those tallies above but it does highlight the difference doesn't it. Some as you can see are actually worse than us but other sides have more than twice our tally and that is the difference in the big matches.

Our real big problem for me is hooker. Mike McIlorum is doing a decent job but is still a raw prospect. Mick Higham though should be producing more. He hasn't scored on an away venue for Wigan since Brian Noble's first match in charge more than two years ago now (although he did score in our last two games on neutral venues). In total his try scoring return away from home for Wigan since he joined in 2006 is a massive two!! I remember Terry Newton scoring four in one match at Widnes in 2004! That return is not good enough and the proof is in the facts, he can have no complaints when Wigan release him at the end of the year.

Richard Mathers had a shocker last week. A few weeks a go on the board, when Mathers was coming back from his suspension, I argued venomously that he was doing a decent job and that it wasn't worth playing the solid Pat Richards at full back as it would take away from his aerial talent out wide. But I've probably been proved wrong on that point. Mathers' goal line one on one defence has been poor, certainly in the last two games. He has got a lot to prove for me.

Last year we finished third in the play offs and prospects were high for this season but clearly there is still a lot of work to be done at Wigan. One thing I will say though is that at least we are now planning years in advance. A lot of the current squad is contracted down for two or three years and that's how to do things. Get a solid base and then build round it. In previous years it always seems to be a case of looking at next year and that's it. Your not going to become a strong force doing that.

As for this Monday's cup tie, this really should be another cup formality for Wigan. I watched Whitehaven play professional opposition in the form of Salford on TV a couple of weeks back and despite plenty of effort against a unmotivated Salford outfit they lamented to a 36-6 defeat.

This will be the fifth time Wigan have drawn Whitehaven in the cup and all the previous clashes at been at home (two of them since we moved to JJB Stadium) and they have all been comfortable victories.

The first clash was back in 1958 which resulted in a 39-10 win at Central Park. Mick Sullivan scored an hatrick whilst the late Eric Ashton and Billy Boston chipped in with two tries each. Wigan went on to beat Workington in the final that year.

The second clash was in 1966. Wigan won 40-6 with Trevor Lake scoring 4 of the 10 tries. Wigan again made the final that year but lost to Saints at Wembley.

The Wigan v Whitehaven cup clash of 2000 was actually Wigan's first victory at JJB Stadium as they hammered them 98-4. Jason Robinson scored a hatrick and Tony Smith went over twice whilst Steve Renouf (2) and Brett Dallas scored debut tries. In total Wigan scored 17 tries and 15 goals that day and the result remains our second biggest win of all time.

In 2005 Haven fared much better but it was still a comfortable 42-4 Wigan  win. The Cumbrians scored the games first try but replies from Stephen Wild (2), Dave Allen (2), Wayne Godwin, Kris Radlinski and Brett Dallas saw Wigan progress. Fat good that did as a awful match against UTC and THAT defeat at St Helens were to follow.

A Whitehaven fan was saying on our board this week that they are not the National League 1 force they once were when they reached consecutive NL1 Grand Finals in 2004 and 2005. Even for our current frailties it is fair to say we have a better team than 2005 so I would expect 50 at least!

There is talk in the local paper that Thomas Leuluai will come back and play despite his long journey down under to play in Friday morning's Anzac test.  Brian Noble says "I want to see (Tommy) taking on Whitehaven. It's going to be a tight schedule, but if he can make it, then he will play."

Why? There's a great prospect in Sam Tomkins playing in our reserves - this is ideal opportunity to try him out. I mean what happens if we lose Leuluai to injury? We have not got any tested replacements at 7. Seems daft to me. Give the lad a chance!!

Match Referee

Steve Ganson (St Helens) - Age 38
First Pro Game: Barrow v Carlisle - August 27th 1995
First Super League Game: Castleford 22 Paris 18 - August 17th 1996
First Wigan Game: Halifax 18 Wigan 46 - May 18th 1997

2008 Record with this Referee

Match Result Pens
Warrington (A) Lost 20-32 13 15 McIlorum Mathers
Leeds (A) Won 14-10 5 8 - -

Video Referee


Wigan Last Ten Years in Challenge Cup

Year Rd 4 Rd 5 Quarter
Finalists Winners
2007 - - - - - -
2006 - - - - - -
2005 - - - - - -
2004 - - - - - -
2003 - - - - - -
2002 - - - - - -
2001 - - - - - -
2000 - - - - - -
1999 - - - - - -
1998 - - - - - -

Wigan v Whitehaven - Challenge Cup Head to Head Records

Record P Wigan Whitehaven Draws Success
Home & Away 4 4 - - 100%
At Home 4 4 - - 100%
Away - - - - -

Previous Cup Meetings with Whitehaven at Home

Date Round Opposition
1957-1958 Round 1 Wigan 39 Whitehaven 10
1965-1966 Round 2 Wigan 40 Whitehaven 06
2000 Round 4 Wigan 98 Whitehaven 04
2005 Round 4 Wigan 42 Whitehaven 04

Wigan Form Guide - Last Six Matches

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
4th May 2008 St Helens (N) SL13 Round 13 Lost 16-57
27th April 2008 Bradford (A) SL13 Round 12 Lost 12-26
20th April 2008 SM Pia (H) C.Cup Round 4 Won 74-04
11th April 2008 Catalans (H) SL13 Round 11 Lost 24-26
5th April 2008 Leeds (A) SL13 Round 10 Won 14-10
28th March 2008 Wakefield (H) SL13 Round 9 Won 08-04

Opposition Form Guide - Last Six Matches

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
5th May 2008 Leigh (H) Nat Lge 1 Rd 6 Won 28-16
24th April 2008 Salford (A) Nat Lge 1 Rd 5 Lost 06-36
18th April 2008 Lezignan (H) C.Cup Round 4 Won 46-06
11th April 2008 Celtic (H) Nat Lge 1 Rd 4 Won 44-18
6th April 2008 Oldham (A) N.Rail Cup R2 Lost 06-16
30th March 2008 Widnes (A) Nat Lge 1 Rd 3 Lost 28-32

League and Cup Stats

Top 5 Try Scorers
Pat Richards 8
Liam Colbon 7
George Carmont 6
Darrell Goulding 5
Harrison Hansen 5

Craig Calvert 11
Ade Adebisi 9
Saia Makisi 5
Carl Rudd 5
Carl Sice 4

Top Goal Kickers
Pat Richards 53
Whitehaven: Carl Rudd 56

Top Points Scorers
Pat Richards 138 (8 tries, 53 goals)
Whitehaven: Carl Rudd 132 (5 tries, 56 goals)


Hot? It's cold showers all round after last weeks display.


All of them!

Ticket Details

Stand ConAdultsiors Concs/Juniors
West Stand £14 £8
East Stand £14 £8
South Stand (All Ticket) CLOSED CLOSED
North Stand (Visitors) CLOSED CLOSED

Discounts before 2pm Saturday on Ticket Hotline: 0871 66 33 552
Click Here for Stadium Seating Map

UK Media Coverage

TV: No TV Coverage
Local Radio: I expect BBC Radio Manchester on 95.1FM will have a sports special on Monday with Full Match Commentary from Jack Dearden & Trevor Hunt.
National Radio: N/A
Internet Audio: Click Here for Details

International TV Coverage


Match Betting

Team Odds
Wigan 1/500
Whitehaven 33/1
Match Draw 66/1

Handicap Match Betting with Totesport

Whitehaven have a 34 Point Start at odds of 10/11

Weather Forecast

Click Here

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