|What a dream night, and result, this was for Wigan. A comprehensive 60-10 victory to take us 6 points clear at the top of the table (for 42 hours at least) and we've been given two cherries on top of our cake with defeats for both St Helens and Leeds elsewhere. Could not have been any better - only defeat for Warrington on Sunday could complete a perfect weekend.|
On the pitch Wigan did the job they needed to do with some style. The sending off of Ryan Boyle on 21 minutes totally killed the match dead but in truth Wigan were already in total control with an 18-0 lead already having been built up.
Having said that it was a sloppy first half I felt from Wigan. They lacked patience and were pushing the pass far too often. They knew though that Salford didn't have enough to handle us and it was just a case of picking them off when we could.
Despite losing Andy Coley (suspended) and Mike McIlorum (ankle injury), Wigan were in my view strengthened by the return of Amos Roberts and Sean O'Loughlin to the substitutes bench.
First try came just as I reached my seat on 6 minutes. From a scrum Mark Riddell made the break to send Sam Tomkins charging over the line. Easy conversion for Richards making it 6-0. Pat actually converted every try tonight, didn't matter if it was bang in front or out wide, he was nailing them!
Three minutes later the lead was doubled. Nice effort saw Riddell, Sam and Thomas Leuluai combine to get Darrell Goulding over for his 20th try of the season, against the team he played against on loan last season. That made it 12-0.
I was making the point at the game to "Dick and Dom" sat next to me how much we have benefited from players going out on loan. I was actually making the point about Lee Mossop, Liam Farrell and Chris Tuson but also Darrell Goulding has benefited from going out on loan elsewhere and we are reaping the rewards now. Apparently Josh Charnley had an excellent debut for Hull KR tonight with one Rovers fan on our board asking "can we keep him?" - More evidence if needed that our strength in depth is immense.
Wigan always looked like they could score for fun but like I said they were going through periods of rushing the pass, which created errors. A third try was scored though on 19 minutes, nice chip kick from Paul Deacon was collected by Martin Gleeson who claimed his 7th try in his last 9 appearances. The conversion made it 18-0.
Then came the red card for Salford prop Ryan Boyle after he hit Stuart Fielden with a high shot. Might have got away with it had Andy Coley not been red carded for us last week, but that dismissal set the current standard and Boyle had to go. That standard will probably continue until it comes to a referee sending off an Adrian Morley or Jamie Peacock type player and of course they'll get away with it. :)
That red card was never going to affect the result but clearly it made the night easier for Wigan. It actually took us 13 minutes to break down the 12 men of Salford, but again a lot of that was Wigan forcing the pass too often. They did have the luxury of bringing Sean O'Loughlin and Amos Roberts off the bench at this point, Amos going out to Full Back with Sam Tomkins reverting to the halves and Thomas Leuluai switching to alternative hooker. A fourth try eventually came with Joel Tomkins reaching over to score from just a metre out. Easy conversion making it 24-0.
Then on 37 minutes a fifth try was scored. Lovely move for this effort. Sam Tomkins went on an arching run and he hit Carmont with a pass that saw him show great pace to burn off defenders in the act of scoring down the left wing. Fifth conversion made the half time score 30-0.
Being located on the back row of the Billy Boston (East) Stand its not often I choose to sit down during games but when I do it's a sign that Wigan are in total control and this was one of those occasions. I walked around the concourse at half time, bumping into familiar faces on way to the toilet, and their was a buzz with news of Catalans beating Saints and Leeds losing to Hull KR - whilst we had a very comfortable lead.
That buzz was increased just three minutes into the second half with our sixth try of the match. Liam Farrell burst clear to send Sam Tomkins over under the posts, easy conversion again making it 36-0. What a player Farrell is looking by the way, brilliant again tonight.
Salford though hit back with a try on 46 minutes which was a neat effort. Matty Smith put a grubber in towards the right, Steven Tyrer hacked on and collected to hit Daniel Holdsworth with a perfect pass to send him over. Holdsworth then converted to make it 36-6.
Quite disappointing that Salford had found a score but it at least was a hard worked effort that needed some scoring, rather than a soft try. Wigan though hit them back with a perfect response, that being another try just three minutes later. A Paul Deacon pass sent Sean O'Loughlin over for an easy score. He had a three man overlap to his left but didn't need any of them - Pat converted to make it 42-6.
On 56 minutes Darrell Goulding claimed his second in the right corner. Quick passing was too hot for Salford to handle and Goulding squeezed over to score. Richards conversion off the touchline made it 48-6.
I remember remarking how slow the half was going. It's was enjoyable to watch Wigan in this mood and they still had 20 minutes to create more damage. They did just that on 62 minutes with Harrison Hansen and Sam Tomkins exchanging passes to see the former marking his recent return from long term injury with a try. Conversion making it 54-6.
Salford then got a second consolation score. This one came from a wild pass from Amos Roberts towards the right wing, it fell straight into the hands of Jodie Broughton and he raced 90 metres to score, despite Sam Tomkins best efforts to catch him. Sam, and a couple of others, got a round of applause for still making the effort despite the huge scoreline. Holdsworth couldn't convert so it was 54-10.
Roberts made up for that error by sending Goulding over for his hatrick in the 74th minute. Pat converted to complete his perfect night of goal kicking and bring up the 60 point mark for Wigan. Goulding's hatrick was his third of the season and 11th scored by Wigan players overall. In comparison the whole of the Brian Noble era saw 14 hatricks in three and half years, never mind not even a full season.
So we are left six points clear of Warrington (who play on Sunday), eight clear of Saints and eleven clear of Leeds. If Warrington fail we can sit back relaxed for our so called crunch games to come with a perfect pressure relieving cushion. Should be an interesting Sunday afternoon at Halliwell Jones Stadium. Yes it is a perfect weekend so far for Wigan but it could also be a perfect weekend for Warrington as well. We shall have to wait and see.