First of all - What a Game! One of the best matches I've seen in a
long, long time. Played in terrible conditions but the effort from
both sides was superb and plenty of massive hits. It was a real
war of attrition.
But us Wigan fans are left steaming by a
refereeing decision right on half time. We led 6-0 and the hooter
sounded with the Hull KR man tackled. Referee Richard Silverwood
for some reason allowed another tackle to which they scored from
and in the heavy rain it was a massive try and moment in the
Having said that, fact is we soon retook the lead early second
half and just did not have the guile to win the match. We've now
lost five of our seven home matches this year and quite honestly
we could have won all five defeats. But we don't have the craft
and guile when it matters and that is a big issue.
Rovers certainly had it in the form of Michael Dobson who
despite limping for most of the game managed to lead Rovers to
victory. Outstanding effort which takes them top of the league
till tomorrow at least. You also need luck to win close games and
on this occasion it swung Rovers way.
The match began with Wigan managing to somehow scramble back
after a clean break up the middle by Clint Newton. Dobson almost
slid over from ten metres away but Amos Roberts was ruled to have
held him up.
Wigan's first attack on six minutes saw them open the scoring.
Tim Smith it was who sent Sean O'Loughlin through a hole and a
conversion from Richard's opened up a 6-0 lead.
In heavy rain ball handling was difficult and when either side
did manage to attack defence was awesome. One attack saw Dobson
look a certain try scorer but Mike McIlorum hit him with a awesome
hit which flattened him on his arse. Long time since I've seen a
tackle that good.
So it looked like 6-0 Wigan at the break but then game the
controversy. The hooter sounded with a Hull KR man tackled but
referee Silverwood allowed play on to which Dobson crashed over
and converted to make it 6-6. Brian Noble was livid giving a
verbal bashing to the reserve official. Doesn't matter which club
is on the receiving end of a call like that but you'd be fuming
over it. From Wigan's point of view it ruined a good half's work.
But into the second half it took just 81 seconds for Wigan to
retake the lead. After a knock on from Jason Netherton, Sean
O'Loughlin carved straight through the middle of the Rovers
defence after nice work from Thomas Leuluai. Richards converted to
make it 12-6.
It was a massive lead in this weather and for me a drop goal
would have won it for Wigan despite loads of time left. But Rovers
got back into the game with Tim Smith being caught on a last
40 metres from his own line he was trying to get a kick away
but Paul Cooke charged it down and managed to hack in on and
ground over the line. Dobson converted to make it 12-12.
Then five minutes later they took the lead for the first time.
Jake Webster it was who took advantage of a missed tackle from
George Carmont. He looked suspect for Jason Demetriou's try last
week and was caught out again here. Not good when Shaun Ainscough
is out the side for apparent poor defence. Dobson hit a beautiful
touchline conversion to make it 18-12 to Rovers with 23 minutes to
Wigan had plenty of opportunities to hit back after Rovers
repeatedly knocked on their own half. Wigan attacked KR's line off
the back of two errors, two penalties and a drop out but just but
we didn't have the crucial killer pass or kick. They saw out a
good 5-6 minutes pressure and after that they controlled the rest
of the game.
The lead going into the final twenty minutes was always going
to tell because both sides had given so much on a heavy pitch and
sadly for us Rovers had that lead. The crucial moment in the whole
match was perhaps a 40-20 from Dobson which relieved a lot of
pressure. They did miss two drop goal attempts but held their
nerve in defence and didn't gift Wigan easy yards up the field.
Another blow for Wigan was Feka coming off the bench with about
twenty minutes to go and having to go off almost immediately after
it looking like he broke his nose making a tackle. Blood pouring
apparently and he did not return meaning Fielden had to go
straight back on with little rest. Another bit of bad luck which
perhaps highlighted that it wasn't going to be our night.
At the end of the match the timekeepers played an astonishing 8
minutes injury time but it was a penalty goal from Dobson early in
the extra minutes that sealed the game.
Fell sorry for Wigan because they gave their all and had good
reason to feel aggrieved. Maybe it's harsh to question team
selection for that reason but the decision to bring back Mark
Riddell at the expense of Sam Tomkins back fired for me. I didn't
see the point of changing a winning formula. We'd had two
excellent wins without him and his early season form in my opinion
didn't warrant an instant return.