|At the end
of a breathtaking 80 minutes I'm not sure either side deserved to
win this contest, but the try that won the match for Wigan,
finished by Joel Tomkins, deserved to win any game of Rugby
Their is a clear way to look at that result and
certainly the Warrington fans will point to the moment Lee Briers
left the field injured but Wigan have notoriously finished games
strongly in recent times and from out point of view we have to be
pleased to have won this match despite never ever respecting
The first 40 minutes from Wigan was pretty disappointing to say
the least. We made it easy for the home side, with poor errors and
conceded penalties. Personally I felt we ended up quite lucky to
be only 16-4 down at the break.
I think Warrington only needed a drop goal to win the game
second half but they never got close to taking a shot and once
Wigan launched their fight back, I think only they were in full
control of where the two points would end up but they almost blew
it off their own backs.
Warrington hammered at Wigan's defence from the off and despite
dominating the early territory it was Wigan who got the opening
try. What a try as well. Amos Roberts has been the stand out
player from our opening two matches and he continued his fine form
tonight. The try was all his own work, breaking through straight
up the middle, he put Matt King on his arse, then beat another
defender, before crashing over under pressure. Pat Richards failed
to convert so the lead was just 4-0.
That try was against the run of play and the rest of the half
offered a true reflection of the way the contest was going, with
Warrington taking control of the match.
First try for them came on 18 minutes with youngster Richie
Myler crashing over from close range. Michael Monaghan sent him
shooting through a gap and a conversion from Lee Briers made it
Ten minutes later that slender lead was increased with Richie
Mathers and Chris Bridge combining to send Chris Riley over in the
right corner. Briers failed to convert from the touchline - 10-4.
Wigan then got a bit of luck with a try for Monaghan himself
being ruled out for a knock on but that relief was soon
extinguished with another Warrington try just before half time.
David Solomona crashed over from close range and the conversion
from Briers made it 16-4. Believe me we were desperate for half
time at this point. Failing to find touch with a late penalty
As so often is the case, the first try of the second half was
again vital to the final outcome. Had Warrington got it, they
would have cruised to an easy victory and they looked to have
claimed it after Lee Mossop had knocked on the kick off which soon
after saw Lee Briers crash over but thankfully Solomona had
knocked on in the build up
Briers then hobbled off the field on 50 minutes and it is easy
to point to that moment being the turnaround in the game. The
truth is, we'll never know but if that's a bit of luck our way, we
have to take it.
Warrington struggled from that moment. That had dominated Wigan
on their last tackles but without Briers no one stood up to take
control. It was Richie Myler's big moment in my view but his
inexperience was evident for all to see.
Wigan's fight back began with Roberts claiming his second try
on 55 minutes. His effort took some scoring but he did manage to
ground what was his sixth try in 3 matches this season. Richards
failed to convert and that could have been a crucial miss had
Wigan not scored again moments later.
Roberts may not have claimed his hatrick for the next Wigan try
but he was the architect of a move that Darrell Goulding finished
off in the right corner. Phil Bailey got an offload away in the
tackle which sent Roberts probing down the right wing. He evaded a
poor tackle attempt from King before slipping the ball out to send
Darrell Goulding over in the corner. Referee Richard
Silverwood asked for the opinion of video ref Phil Bentham but it
was a clear try. Pat then converted his most difficult kick of the
night to make it 16-14.
Wigan were now in control of the contest and Warrington were
having to concede penalties to handle the pressure. One such
penalty came in front of the posts and Pat easily slotted it over
to tie the scores at 16-16.
The game was now Wigan's to win and on the next set Sam Tomkins
showed his true quality. Last tackle, about fourty out, Warrington
look set to defend our efforts but Sam put in a lovely chip over
the top, caught his own ball, found Thomas Leuluai who sent Joel
Tomkins over for the try. Easy(ish) conversion for Pat made it
22-16 and their looked to be no chance of a Warrington fight back.
But Wigan did not go into close out mode following that score.
They should have looked to shut up shop and keep Warrington deep
but they lacked a bit of clever mentality.
Warrington did help themselves though with a quality 40/20 kick
from Michael Monaghan. He spotted Richards hadn't dropped back on
the last and put Warrington into position to make Wigan sweat to
the finish. Although they didn't score from the 40/20, it did put
them in good territory to force a knock on from Joel Tomkins
thirty from his own line. Then after a penalty, Louis Anderson crashed over from close
range. It wasn't near the touchline but close enough to ensure
a tough conversion for Chris Bridge, which went wide, and that proved to be a crucial miss
- Wigan led 22-20 with 6 minutes to go.
I mentioned Richie Myler showing some inexperience but Sam
Tomkins also showed inexperience when he kicked out on the full
trying to pin Warrington back deep in their own half. Nice idea
but it failed miserably and should really have cost us the game.
That error put Warrington right on the front foot and it was
quickly followed a penalty after Harrison Hansen was penalised
fourty metres out but rather that take the two to level the scores
they kicked for touch. From the tap Solomona
looked to have nicked the win with a trademark try but knocked on
a bugs dick from the line. It was less than inches away but a
correct decision by the video ref and Sam Tomkins relief was their
for all to see. Amos Roberts fittingly was
underneath Solomona to deny him the score, with some help from
Wigan still had a minute to see out but despite Warrington
attacking right up to the final second of the game, they held on to claim the two
points. Have to say either side could have won the match but
relieved that Wigan have not only claimed the win, but more that
they have got that Halliwell Jones Stadium hoo-doo finally off
their backs. And on that evidence I would not be surprised if
Wigan v Warrington is repeated late in the play offs.