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Pre Season Match Report: Warrington 18 Wigan 24
Posted by Bilko on February 02 2011 - 16:26

Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors - Jon Clarke Testimonial (Friendly).
Wednesday 2nd February 2011. Kick Off 8:00pm at Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Big debate about strength in depth on the message boards over the past few days, and I know it's only pre season, but tonight Warrington had three of their first 21 squad numbers absent, whilst Wigan in comparison had twice as many of their first 21 (well 20 because 18 is unallocated) absent. Yet we didn't look any weaker for having lost three more key players.

Anyway, tonight was an excellent all round performance by Wigan. We soaked up a lot of pressure from Warrington but our defence was immense. Think Warrington were a bit clueless as well mind you in all of that but clearly our high standards set last season showed no sign of dropping.

In attack I think we showed signs of rust with ball in hand, but our pack was looking good. Big wraps to Jeff Lima and Lee Mossop from me. I'm not the best for analysing individual performances but Lima was looking all class. Early on Adrian Morley (I think it was him - might have been Louis Anderson)) tried to boom him with a big shoulder but just bounced straight off him. Lima didn't budge an inch! He was beasting it all night and the Wigan fans have found their next fan favourite! Mossop came on to prop on 24 minutes for Lima and didn't look out of place in my eyes. Add in the very solid Ryan Hoffman and Liam Farrell and our pack is looking so much stronger than the start of last season.

Game started pretty even. First error was from Paul Deacon but that looked like it was due to injury. He came off moments later on 5 minutes to be replaced by Sam Tomkins. Deacon did return. I think it was just a heavy knock more than anything.

Sam didn't take long to make his first mark on the 2011 season. Twenty metres out a Warrington pass went to ground and just two minutes after coming on, Sam just scooped up, said thank you very much, and touched down under the sticks. He then converted his own try to make it 6-0.

After that it was Warrington doing most of the asking. Two penalties helped them get a full set in Wigan's 20 but our defence held firm. Moments later Warrington score. Good kick is put in, and well collected, but it's a Wigan cheer - Phil Bentham calls the scorer offside!

Wigan then had a chance of their own after forcing a drop out but the ball soon went to ground, letting Warrington off the hook. Soon after Warrington bombed a great chance by knocking on over the line.

On 24 minutes Lima went off to be replaced by Mossop and Wigan scored again soon after. Liam Farrell claimed it. He stepped out of some poor Wire tackling to easily touch down. Deacon was back on the field and he converted to make it 12-0.

After that Warrington had three more sets on the Wigan line. One such effort saw memories of last season come flooding back. David Solomona was trying to score in the left corner but knocked on a bugs dick from the try line. Happy, happy memories of him doing that last season. :)

The pressure did eventually tell, Wigan just couldn't survive until half time. Right on the hooter, Lee Briers crashed over from close range. Hodgson converted to leave the half time score 12-6 to Wigan.

Wigan put themselves on the back foot straight away after the break by hitting the kick off straight into touch. I make it 4 sets they had pressuring the Wigan line but our defence was outstanding. Joel Monaghan was claiming a try after a neat kick towards the right corner but referee Phil Bentham ruled a knock on (or failure to ground the ball). Dogtanian was getting dog barks every time he touched the ball from the Wigan crowd (in reference to his dog sex scandal picture). Wire fans may think it's tiresome but they better get used to it. Every set of fans will be doing the same and if it was one of our players, you'd be doing it to them!

So Warrington had at least 4 opportunities to score early second half and failed. Soon enough it would be Wigan to get a similar spell of territory and they showed them how to score, by doing it twice.

First on 52 minutes Paul Prescott, a man who has only ever scored 1 competitive try for Wigan, looked a certain scorer under the posts but Warrington managed to strip the ball away. Why does that not count as a penalty try? Anyway, penalty went to Wigan and straight from it Thomas Leuluai crashed over from close range. Deacon converted to make it 18-6.

Wigan were on a roll and were beginning to find gaps in the Wire defence. A good break down field from substitute Josh Charnley set up good territory and Chris Tuson went over in an almost carbon copy of the try from Leuluai moments earlier. Although he was hit very high by Ryan Atkins in the process of scoring. Didn't stop him scoring but it was a clear foul. Should it not have been an 8 point try? Deacon converted anyway to make it 24-6.

From the restart Leuluai knocked on and gave Warrington a quick chance to get back into the game but again Wigan's defence was far too good.

The match was now in final quarter and the match started to die I felt. Warrington twice failed to find touch with penalties during this period but in between they claimed a try back.The home crowd seemed like they'd given up the ghost on this game because they only reacted once Bentham confirmed that Rhys Williams had touched down in the left corner. Brett Hodgson hit a sweet touchline conversion to make it 24-12 with 10 minutes to go.

Michael Maguire introduced Logan Tomkins to the fray, joining brothers Sam and Joel on the field, but he had little time to make any impact on this contest.

The game petered out but fittingly perhaps, Jon Clarke claimed a try on his testimonial in the final minute from close range. Ben Westwood converted to make the final score 24-18 - a scoreline that I think flatters Warrington. 24-12 would have been far fairer.

5,757 was an excellent crowd for Jon Clarke, a player who began his career in Wigan's youth academy and played 28 games for us between 1997 and 1999. Always a pleasure to see any player complete 10 years at any club.

For Wigan they will take a lot out of that performance. Excellent display, especially when you consider Pat Richards, Martin Gleeson, Brett Finch, Stuart Fielden, Harrison Hansen, Eamon O'Carroll all missed the match injured. and we also may even have Gareth Hock to call up later in the year. Very good signs for us.

Most of all though we look bang on ready for the derby with St Helens in Cardiff, especially in defence. Warrington kept trying to cut us up out wide but Goulding and Marsh on the right, and the makeshift pair of Joel Tomkins and George Carmont on the left, stood up the task with few dramas. Maybe a couple of soft ones let in late but your bound to be tired at the back end of games so early in the pre season and Warrington did have two extra subs to call upon. In the end compare a 24-18 win at Warrington to a 36-12 "home" loss for Saints against Huddersfield. Those results just can't help you from really looking forward to Cardiff! Bring it on!

Reaction to the Action

Michael Maguire: "It was pleasing, there are still some areas we need to go away and work on, at least after this game and the Salford one the other week we can assess where we are at, my headache now is to pick my team for the first game which is a pleasing position to be in. Every player is trying hard and we look extremely competitive, it is bringing the best out of everyone. I thought Liam Farrell performed very well, across the board there were some good performances. Chris Tuson was another one, he came on well last season and he showed he is a Super League player. I got the message from them asking was there any chance to get all of the three (Tomkins Brothers) on the field at the same time? I thought it was the right thing to do. “They’re three great kids and it was great to see all the brothers out there. (Joel is) still working out how he can play (at centre), with his size... whether he plays back row or centre he’s an extremely good competitor.  

Warrington coach Tony Smith: "We are chasing Wigan. They were quicker than us and I was impressed with their goal-line defence. They were hard to crack."

Team Sheets

- Warrington Position Wigan -
1 Brett Hodgson Full Back Amos Roberts 19
3 Matt King Winger Darrell Goulding 2
23 Ryan Atkins Centre Stefan Marsh 24
4 Chris Bridge Centre Joel Tomkins 12
5 Joel Monaghan Winger George Carmont 4
6 Lee Briers Stand Off Paul Deacon 6
7 Richard Myler Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Adrian Morley Prop Paul Prescott 14
15 Jon Clarke Hooker Mike McIlorum 9
13 Ben Harrison Prop Jeff Lima 15
11 Louis Anderson 2nd Row Ryan Hoffman 16
12 Ben Westwood 2nd Row Liam Farrell 22
17 Simon Grix L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
-
9 Michael Monaghan Substitute Sam Tomkins 1
14 Mick Higham Substitute Andy Coley 10
18 Mike Cooper Substitute Lee Mossop 21
19 Lee Mitchell Substitute Chris Tuson 23
20 Matty Blythe Substitute Josh Charnley 25
21 Tyrone McCarthy Substitute Logan Tomkins 30
22 Rhys Williams Substitute - -
26 David Solomona Substitute - -
- Tony Smith Coach Michael Maguire -

Score Sheet

Warrington Wolves 18 --- Wigan Warriors 24
Tries (3):
Lee Briers
Rhys Williams
Jon Clarke
--- Tries (4):
Sam Tomkins
Liam Farrell
Thomas Leuluai
Chris Tuson
Goals:
Brett Hodgson 2/2
Ben Westwood 1/1
--- Goals:
Sam Tomkins 1/1
Paul Deacon 3/3

Scoring and Incident Pattern

7th Minute Warrington 00 Wigan 04 Try: Sam Tomkins
- Warrington 00 Wigan 06 Conversion: Sam Tomkins (1/1)
28th Minute Warrington 00 Wigan 10 Try: Liam Farrell
- Warrington 00 Wigan 12 Conversion: Paul Deacon (1/1)
40th Minute Warrington 04 Wigan 12 Try: Lee Briers
- Warrington 06 Wigan 12 Conversion: Brett Hodgson (1/1)
Half Time Warrington Wolves 06 Wigan Warriors 12
53rd Minute Warrington 06 Wigan 16 Try: Thomas Leuluai
- Warrington 06 Wigan 18 Conversion: Paul Deacon (2/2)
58th Minute Warrington 06 Wigan 22 Try: Chris Tuson
- Warrington 06 Wigan 24 Conversion: Paul Deacon (3/3)
68th Minute Warrington 10 Wigan 24 Try: Rhys Williams
- Warrington 12 Wigan 24 Conversion: Brett Hodgson (2/2)
80th Minute Warrington 16 Wigan 24 Try: Jon Clarke
- Warrington 18 Wigan 24 Conversion: Ben Westwood (1/1)
Full Time Warrington Wolves 18 Wigan Warriors 24

Referee

Phil Bentham

Penalties Conceded

Warrington 10 Wigan 12

Match Attendance

5,757

Weather

Windy. Cold but not freezing!

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