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Match Report: Wigan 24 Catalans 22
Posted by Bilko on July 10 2009 - 22:49

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Wigan Warriors v Catalans Dragons - Engage Super League XIV Round 20.
Friday 10th July 2009. Kick Off 8:00pm at JJB Stadium.

Match Report

It wasn't the best of games but it could prove to be the biggest result of Wigan's season having fought back from 14-22 down in the final quarter to win 24-22 against a physical Catalans Dragons side.

It's a big win for so many reasons. Not only because we overcame our injury problems but for the fact it takes us 5th, albeit with others still yet to play this weekend, and also keeps Catalans off our backs. A loss tonight and they would have been level with us in the table. Now we have a four point cushion over them which is better to have than not with games against Leeds and St Helens at the back end of the month.

This was a really gutsy Wigan win. They had to dig deep against a tough outfit, but our efforts were made all the more difficult with another poor display from Pat Richards in the goal kicking department. He didn't have an easy kick all night in fairness but kicking only 2 goals from 5 almost cost us the match.

Wigan began the match dominating territory in the opening quarter but they just couldn't find a way over the line. Pat Richards did get over out wide in the fourth minute but his effort was brought back for a forward pass.

Catalans were conceding penalty after penalty and Wigan eventually took advantage of the easy territory in the 22nd minute. Cameron Phelps offloaded out of a tackle to Thomas Leuluai who sent George Carmont over in the left corner. Richards missed the conversion - 4-0 Wigan.

Three minutes later Wigan scored again after Clint Greenshields was deemed to have knocked on in front of his own posts. He disputed the call which saw referee Ben Thaler give the penalty rather than a scrum but despite being bang in front, Wigan took the tap. Wigan caught the French side cold - Leuluai sent Richards over and Greenshields again took the opportunity to complain to Thaler but he was having none of it and sent him into the sin bin. Meanwhile Richards converted to make it 10-0 to Wigan.

10 minutes with an extra man should have provided Wigan with an opportunity to take full control of the game before half time but it was Catalans who went on the offensive with Wigan conceding two penalties close to their own line. It was pretty dumb rugby from Wigan and Catalans fully deserved the try they got just before they returned to full strength. Steven Bell it was who went over in the right hand corner. Wigan protested furiously that he had been bundled into touch. Not sure if he was or not but whoever the Wigan tackler was made a brave effort to try and stop him but it was deemed that he had grounded the ball first.

Leuluai hadn't learned from Greenshields' mouthing off and he too was dispatched to the sin bin for protesting too much, just as Catalans returned to full strength. Thomas Bosc also hit a beautiful conversion off the touchline to make it 10-6.

Then a minute before half time Catalans showed Wigan how to play against 12 men with a neat try down the left hand side. Dimitri Pelo broke clear before finding Olivier Elima on his inside for the try. Bosc hit another superb conversion to give the French a 12-10 half time lead. Wigan had been given a big lesson in how to convert territory into points because for the first half hour it was all Cherry & White but the scoreboard certainly didn't reflect that,

Darrell Goulding was playing for Salford against Wigan at the JJB last month but he returned from his loan spell tonight looking fresh and raring to go. His 8 games at the Willows seem to have done him the world of good as he set up Wigan's first try of the second half. He sent Amos Roberts over in the corner but Richards failed to convert off the touchline so Wigan's lead was a slender 14-12 advantage.

Catalans then had a 10 minute spell of domination which perhaps should have won them the game. Greg Bird may be banned from working for a UK club by Border Agencies and also facing jail for assaulting a female but he is a pivotal player for the Dragons and he began to run the show at this point.

Bosc put in a neat grubber which Bird touched down to make it 16-14 to the French then Bosc hit another sweet conversion to make it 18-14. Then a shocking defensive effort from Amos Roberts allowed Jean-Phillippe Baile to increase the lead. Baile had took a big knock moments earlier and was still feeling the effects when he swatted away Roberts who went far to high. Amos wasn't the only guilty man, two more would be tacklers made poor efforts. A soft, soft try. Bosc though missed the conversion and in the end it would be a crucial miss.

So going into the final quarter of the match Wigan could have mentally collapsed with a 22-14 deficit. They'd been in this kind of position so many times at the JJB this year and more often than not they'd not found a way to win but tonight they did.

For once they were patient and that patience was rewarded with a second try of the night for Richards on 64 minutes. Cameron Phelps was the provider and Pat converted this one to bring the deficit down to two points.

Wigan may have struggled to convert the early match pressure against the Dragons but it was proving to be like a quiz show money in the bank scenario with those early efforts allowing us to cash in on a Catalans defence that was fatiguing badly. Phelps was the provider again, this time sending Goulding over for what proved to be the match winner. Richards missed another kick off the touchline though so Wigan had 6 minutes left to defend a 24-22 lead.

Pressure mounted straight away when Catalans players out jumped Joel Tomkins to win a short kick off. They hammered at the Wigan line and forced a drop out but a mistake eventually came to relieve the pressure. The final moments of the match saw Wigan attacking but the hooter went before they probably would have scored to seal the game. It was a huge relief let me tell you!

But all in all it was a huge win for us. Bit of sweet revenge after they came back late to beat us at the JJB last season. I must correct Phil Veivers though who commented about us finally winning three games in a row in the South Stand Bar post match. We won four in a row earlier in the season when we beat Celtic, Wakefield (twice) and St Helens in late April, early May. We need another big effort now against Bradford to make it four in a row again and send us into three huge games against Leeds, St Helens and then the cup semi final full of confidence.

Few other thoughts. When Leuluai was binned, Noble brought Karl Pryce off the bench in at Stand Off which was baffling to say the least. Cameron Phelps had a good game and I think he may suit the role better. That would mean sticking Richards at full back and Pryce out on the wing but all that disruption is better than Pryce at Stand Off. He just looked so out of place.

Also thought Lee Mossop had a solid game on his return. He too looks to have hugely benefited from his 9 match loan spell with first Barrow then Huddersfield. Gareth Hock may be facing a two year suspension but we may have a ready made replacement in Mossop. Long way to go yet before he establishes himself but their are positive signs at the moment.

Reaction to the Action

Wigan Coach Brian Noble: "I was really pleased with our character in the last 15-20 minutes because we went two scores down with 18 minutes to go. They showed real resilience to get back into the game and win it. When we executed on the fringes we looked very good. We planned to do that all week. We let a couple of soft tries in but they are a very good team the Catalans, their form has been good and we needed to be good tonight. I thought that once we cleaned up on the edges we have some strike. We were disappointed with some things we did defensively but we can fix that during the week. I have to say I thought Mossop went OK as well on his recall. There were some good performances. The last 20 minutes showed that character is fully in tact with this team We don't think it's (a serious injury for Paul Prescott), we think it's just a bruise - a bang on his knee. We could do without our list of casualties lengthening. Martin Gleeson was close but it's one of those injuries, we are hopeful he will be alright for next week. We aren't making much about the injuries, we just have to get on with it. The players just got on with it, they could have found a reason not be successful with the injuries but they found a reason to win which is pleasing. It was an arm wrestle, it was WWF, you score, we score. I am not carried away because we are up to 5th, we have to just stay strong, it's pleasing but that can quickly change."

Catalans coach Kevin Walters: "Losing Adam (Mogg) wasn't such a major disruption because we had Greg (Bird) in the 17. He is a world-class player. He's been in court for two weeks and tells us he's done some training but I've my doubts. He had no preparation with the team and to come out and do what he did showed he is a footie player. Straight away you could see he was going to be okay for us. It's very difficult for him. We haven't seen the best of his ability in the northern hemisphere yet but hopefully now a lot of (the court issues) are cleared until the end of the year he will play his best football. We should have won but they fought back well. They're a very steely side and in the end they were just too good for us. I thought the last 10 minutes for us were pretty telling. The penalties are always a concern. Most of them were warranted. We had a chat about our discipline at half-time and we were better in the second half but not quite where we need to be to beat the good teams. I think Wigan are in that category. I think where they are in the ladder defies how good they really are."

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Catalans -
21 Cameron Phelps Full Back Clint Greenshields 1
2 Amos Roberts Winger Steven Bell 3
3 Darrell Goulding Centre Jason Croker 12
4 George Carmont Centre Jean-Phillippe Baile 15
5 Pat Richards Winger Dimitri Pelo 5
25 Sam Tomkins Stand Off Greg Bird 26
7 Thomas Leuluai Scrum Half Thomas Bosc 6
15 Andy Coley Prop David Ferriol 8
9 Mark Riddell Hooker Casey McGuire 9
19 Paul Prescott Prop Jérôme Guisset 10
12 Phil Bailey 2nd Row Olivier Elima 16
16 Harrison Hansen 2nd Row Cyril Gossard 17
14 Joel Tomkins L.Forward Jason Ryles 23
-
8 Stuart Fielden Substitute Shane Perry 7
10 Iafeta Paleaaesina Substitute Grégory Mounis 13
20 Karl Pryce Substitute Jamal Fakir 22
24 Lee Mossop Substitute Rémi Casty 24

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 24 --- Catalans Dragons 22
Tries (5):
George Carmont
Pat Richards 2
Amos Roberts
Darrell Goulding
--- Tries (4):
Steven Bell
Olivier Elima
Jean-Phillippe Baile
Dimitri Pelo
Goals:
Pat Richards 2/5
--- Goals:
Thomas Bosc 3/4

Scoring and Incident Pattern

23rd Minute Wigan 04 Catalans 00 Try: George Carmont
- Wigan 04 Catalans 00 P.Richards Missed Conversion (0/1)
26th Minute Wigan 08 Catalans 00 Try: Pat Richards
26th Minute Catalans Sin Bin Clint Greenshields (Dissent)
- Wigan 10 Catalans 04 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/2)
35th Minute Wigan 10 Catalans 04 Try: Steven Bell
35th Minute Wigan Sin Bin Thomas Leuluai (Dissent)
- Wigan 10 Catalans 06 Conversion: Thomas Bosc (1/1)
39th Minute Wigan 10 Catalans 10 Try: Olivier Elima
- Wigan 10 Catalans 12 Conversion: Thomas Bosc (2/2)
Half Time Wigan Warriors 10 Catalans Dragons 12
45th Minute Wigan 14 Catalans 12 Try: Amos Roberts
- Wigan 14 Catalans 12 P.Richards Missed Conversion (1/3)
50th Minute Wigan 14 Catalans 16 Try: Jean-Phillippe Baile
- Wigan 14 Catalans 18 Conversion: Thomas Bosc (3/3)
57th Minute Wigan 14 Catalans 22 Try: Dimitri Pelo
- Wigan 14 Catalans 22 T.Bosc Missed Conversion (3/4)
64th Minute Wigan 18 Catalans 22 Try: Pat Richards (2)
- Wigan 20 Catalans 22 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/4)
73rd Minute Wigan 24 Catalans 22 Try: Darrell Goulding
- Wigan 24 Catalans 22 P.Richards Missed Conversion (2/5)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 24 Catalans Dragons 22

Referee

Ben Thaler (Wakefield)

Penalties Conceded

Wigan 5 Catalans 13

Match Attendance

11,543 (Approx 5 Away Supporters)

Weather

Dry Night.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 14 Round 20

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 St Helens 20 16 0 4 615 336 +279 32
2 Leeds Rhinos 20 15 0 5 555 343 +212 30
3 Huddersfield Giants 20 13 0 7 484 322 +162 26
4 Hull Kingston Rovers 20 12 1 7 476 386 +90 25
5 Wigan Warriors 20 10 0 10 490 405 +85 20
6 Harlequins 19 10 0 9 449 409 +40 20
7 Wakefield Wildcats 20 10 0 10 477 475 +2 20
8 Warrington Wolves 20 10 0 10 451 483 -32 20
9 Castleford Tigers 20 10 0 10 458 505 -47 20
10 Catalans Dragons 19 8 0 11 431 498 -67 16
11 Hull FC 20 8 0 12 390 490 -100 16
12 Bradford Bulls 19 6 1 12 414 524 -110 13
13 Salford City Reds 19 6 0 13 306 516 -210 12
14 Celtic Crusaders 20 3 0 17 289 593 -304 6

Round 20 Results
Fri 10 July Wakefield Wildcats 30 Leeds Rhinos 32 6,425
Fri 10 July Wigan Warriors 24 Catalan Dragons 22 11,543
Sat 11 July Harlequins 16 Huddersfield Giants 32 3,916
Sat 11 July Celtic Crusaders 25 Salford City Reds 12 3,009
Sat 11 July Warrington Wolves 26 St Helens 40 12,075
Sun 12 July Hull Kingston Rovers 32 Bradford Bulls 12 8,206
Sun 12 July Castleford Tigers 40 Hull FC 18 8,297

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