|It has to be said, it was a
pretty impressive defensively display tonight from Wigan but we
didn't half create our own hard work with terrible handling.
Warrington were gifted territory almost exclusively in Wigan's
half for long periods during the game but fortunately did bugger
all with it most of the time. As good as Wigan's defence was,
Warrington's attack was pretty lame.
Opportunities were limited
in attack but we took our chances well to earn our first real
victory at Halliwell Jones Stadium against a full strength
Warrington side - although it'll count for nowt if we lose when we
return in 24 days.
Warrington got off to the better start with a try after just
four minutes. Cameron Phelps failed to deal with a chip over the
top by Lee Briers and from the error Adrian Morley was able to
score from close range. Conversion from Briers made it 6-0.
Wigan though came back strongly with the help of Thierry
Alibert who's whistle blowing ensured we got five sets in a row.
This pressure told on 16 minutes when a neat grubber from Sean
O'Loughlin was pounced on by ex Wire Martin Gleeson. Pat Richards'
conversion was wide of the mark so the score was 6-4 to
Three minutes later Wigan took the lead for the first time. Sam
Tomkins broke straight through the heart of the Warrington defence
and although they recovered to catch him, quick hands saw them
stretched out wide and Amos Roberts was sent in the right corner.
Pat missed a second conversion though so the lead was just 8-6
after 20 minutes.
The second quarter of the match was pretty much all Warrington,
as Wigan struggled to complete sets. We defended at least six
attacks on our line during this period. But we managed to hold our
slender lead up to half time.
Into the second half and Wigan brought on Paul Deacon to make
his Cherry&White bow with Thomas Leuluai switching to hooker. But
it was Warrington who continued to attack the Wigan line and a
break down the left by Ryan Atkins should have seen him sent Matt
King in for an easy score, but instead he threw the ball into the
grateful arms of Amos Roberts.
On 50 minutes Wigan brought on Karl Pryce and Darrell Goulding
to replace Pat Richards and George Carmont down the left and the
move immediately paid dividends. Ok it may have been a bit of
coincidence but within two minutes of them coming on, we were
first held up over the line then Lee Mossop was sent in close to
the posts by O'Loughlin. With Pat off the field I expected Deacon
would take the conversion but instead Roberts added the simple
extras to make it 14-6.
From the restart Wigan knocked on and this error brought on a
second extended period of defensive pressure, which lasted for
another good twenty minutes. Every time we got the ball we handled
badly and struggled to get past half way.
Warrington didn't really take much advantage until Chris Riley
was sent over in the right corner on 68 minutes. Briers hit a big
conversion off the touchline to bring Warrington back to within
two at 14-12.
Moments later Karl Pryce limped off the field. Been plenty of
discussion about him on our board this week and although he
may have been badly injured for all we know, this will add fuel to
those saying he is too soft I'm afraid.
Warrington continued to pile more pressure on Wigan's line
helped by an error from Gleeson. He broke down the right but
failed to noticed their was no winger and threw the ball into
touch. Two penalties were then given away and it looked like the
Wire fans would see their side snatch the win but good defence
forced a knock on.
Time was now ticking and with two minutes left Wigan sealed the
win. They had barely attacked since scoring 26 minutes earlier,
but how often do you see sides soak up a lot of defence pressure
then get one chance up the other end and score? Sam Tomkins sent
Harrison Hansen racing towards the line, he beat the last man to
score a great try. Richards was back on to convert and complete a
nice nights work in a 20-12 final score.
At full time, those that go away regularly will be used to the
players slowly walking up to the Wigan end of the ground and
clapping the fans. Paul Deacon however chose to sprint up to our
end, on his own, to take the applause. Bit bemusing why he came up
so fast on his own. He was either excited or in a big rush to get
off the field. He had a decent debut without shining. We didn't
complete enough sets for him to be effective with his kicking
Sam Tomkins had a great night, causing all sorts of problems
with the limited attacking ball we had. Richie Myler on the other
hand had about three times more attacking at Wigan but looked
So to sum up, great defence but poor, poor handling in attack.
Maybe rustiness is still in evidence but I hope we can keep that
defence up this year. If we do, we'll be hard to beat!