Click: Last Match -
Catalans Dragons v Wigan Warriors
- Engage Super
League XI Round 1.
Well having not gone to France, tonight was the first time in seven years I've watched us play via Sky TV. I dunno what frustrated me more. Not being at the match tonight or Wigan's throwing away of this match.
Taking the lead in the 70th minute should have propelled us to victory but a silly mistake from a kick off cost us dear.
Wigan started with a forward pass after 10 seconds. Shocking start, Sean O'Loughlin being the guilty man. This gifted Catalans great field position which turned into a try in the corner for Mark Hughes with less than two minutes gone. Laurent Frayssinous conversion hit the post.
Wigan then kicked the ball out on the full from the restart. You need to start a game well to set the tone for the rest of your performance. This was a shocking start. but they fought back well. On 7 minutes Brett Dallas somehow managed to touch down in the corner, despite three defenders trying to bundle him into touch. He was set up by David Vaealiki who did well to juggle a long pass from Mick Higham. Danny Tickle's conversion, like Frayssinous', hit the post
Then Wigan gave them a double whammy on the next attack. Bang, bang, straight down the middle Iafeta Paleaaesina, who turned 24 on Friday, scored on debut as he finished a good break from Chris Ashton. Tickle converted to make it 10-4.
Wigan just needed to slow the pace relax and take control, but no a stupid penalty gifted the Catalans the initiative as they drew level on 15 minutes. A last tackle grubber kick from Stacey Jones was not dealt with and prop Chris Beattie pounced. Frayssinous' conversion made it 10 all.
Both sides had tries disallowed before the Catalans took the lead on the half hour. Jamal Fakir, who was close to signing for Wigan in the middle of last season, battered his way over for a try. It was poor Wigan defence, Pat Richards in particular was at fault as he went far too high! Frayssinous' conversion made it 16-10 to the French.
Fakir's try obviously went to his head as soon after he scored referee Ashley Klein placed him on report for a high tackle on Wayne Godwin. Then seconds later he was shown the yellow card after giving Godwin a second high tackle. Not often you see a yellow for a high shot. I think he would have seen red had he been playing for a more established side!
Anyway the sin binning worked to Wigan's advantage as they scored twice before half time. Dennis Moran jinked his way over for a try on 35 minutes before Jerry Seuseu battered his way over for his first ever Wigan try in stoppage time. Tickle converted both to send us in at the break leading 22-16.
22-16 up Wigan had a chance to come out second half and take control. But no, they lost the initiative again as the Dragons came out the stronger.
Substitute winger Renaud Guige had a score disallowed for a double movement before making amends after 46 minutes by finishing some splendid handling by half-backs Jones and Rudder.
And six minutes later, the crowd was on its feet once more when centre John Wilson got a wonder pass out of the tackle for right winger Justin Murphy to cross at the corner. Frayssinous planted the touchline conversion between the posts to make it 26-22 with 25 minutes left.
Wigan began to panic. They didn't need to, but they did. Patience was needed but not forthcoming. Higham was held up over the line and O'Loughlin had the misfortune to somehow lose the ball in the act of scoring.
It looked like it wasn't to be our night until Pat Richard broke away in the 70th Minute. He handed off the challenge of Guige to race over for the score. Tickle converted to make it 28-26 to Wigan. Tickle then added a penalty four minutes later and we once again had the game in our hands.
But from the kick off after the penalty, Richards knocked on. Just when you don't want to give the Catalans a sniff, we gift them possession and good field position.
They took advantage. First loose forward Ian Hindmarsh, brother of Australian Test star Nathan, cut through for his side's sixth try with four minutes to go. Frayssinous converted to make it 32-30.
Wigan needed the football but another penalty allowed the Dragons to hold on. They even had the cheek to score again through Justin Murphy. Very scrappy try it was as well but nothing more than they deserved.
Wigan should have won this but deserved nothing because as Ian Millward said after the game we were too inconsistent and just didn't take control of a match that that was ours.
It's a big ask now to bounce back and beat Leeds next Friday.
Reaction to the Action
Ian Millward: "It was an experience. It was very pleasing
for the journey of the game, short and long term.
"There were some very disappointing calls. Some of the rule changes that were made during the game perplexed us.
"But I don't want to use them as an excuse for us losing. We weren't consistent enough."
Catalans Caretaker Coach David Waite: "For all those people in the last few years who believed in the venture, we have a team who've delivered.
"It's a fairytale start for a new venture in a new country and I hope we can build on that.
"The plaudits have got to go to the team and a little fella with number seven on his back (Stacey Jones)"
Scoring and Incident Pattern
Referee: Ashley Klein (London)
Mark Calderwood made his Wigan debut.
League Table at Conclusion of Super League 11 Round 1
Round 1 Results