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|Monday 22nd July 2013|
|St Helens 22 Wigan Warriors 16|
|Langtree Park, St Helens|
|Super League 18 - Round 22 of 27|
Kick Off 7:45pm
|32||Ryan Hampshire||7||Jonny Lomax|
|2||Josh Charnley||T2||21||Tommy Makinson||G|
|3||Darrell Goulding||3||Jordan Turner||G2|
|22||Anthony Gelling||5||Francis Meli|
|5||Pat Richards||T||G||DG||26||Adam Swift||T2|
|6||Blake Green||12||Jon Wilkin|
|7||Matty Smith||DG||37||Gareth O'Brien||G2|
|20||Gil Dudson||11||Tony Puletua|
|9||Michael McIlorum||36||Stuart Howarth|
|10||Lee Mossop||14||Anthony Laffranchi|
|16||Chris Tuson||19||Josh Jones|
|12||Liam Farrell||13||Willie Manu|
|29||Greg Burke||10||Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook|
|15||Ben Flower||1||Paul Wellens|
|21||Scott Taylor||16||Paul Clough|
|23||Logan Tomkins||24||Joe Greenwood||T|
|26||Dom Crosby||25||Alex Walmsley|
Disappointing. Really, really disappointing. Wigan yet again lose a tight game against a big name opponent. A worrying trend continues.
Absences do not hide the fact that we should have had better control to win this match with who we had out there. Of course I'm convinced that had Sean O'Loughlin, Harrison Hansen and Mike McIlorum (never mind Sam Tomkins) been out there late on we'd have won but the point is that we should have won without them!
We had a big momentum swing early in the second half. A wonder tackle from Ryan Hampshire denies Joe Greenwood and then he goes up the other end to send Josh Charnley over for a great try. We'd done well to get from 12-0 down and from possibly being 18-8 down we were instead 14-12 up....but sadly we never capitalised on that swing.
Later we had a drop goal for a 15-14 lead, but the way we went about this game from that position onwards was awful. That drop goal came in the 57th minute and it was about the 71st minute before we finally got some ball. Fourteen minutes of dreadful control from Wigan. Gifting three penalty goal shots to them says it all.
We can argue about those absent all we want, but really it's a squad mentality that is seeing us repeatedly struggle to win tight games against big opponents since Wane became coach.
Warrington (H) - February 2012 - LOST
Leeds (H) - 2012 Play Offs - LOST
Warrington (H) - February 2013 - DRAW
Huddersfield (A) - February 2013 - LOST
Leeds (A) - March 2013 - LOST
Warrington (A) - June 2013 - LOST
Then in this game. Level inside the final five minutes and again LOST.
I have to counter this a little bit by acknowledging that we've punched home in some games this year - Cas (A), Wakefield (A), Widnes (A) & Bradford (H) - but they are not really comparable opponents.
The only big tight game we have won was Leeds at Magic, when we won 20-16, but you could argue we got lucky with the Danny McGuire "No Try"?
I certainly didn't think we handled the closing out of that Magic Weekend game well and you have seven examples here of us being in a "next try wins" kind of position against big teams, inside the last ten minutes, and failing.
Personally I'm full of admiration for what Shaun Wane has done for us over the last 10 years or so, and I'm desperate for him to succeed in the top position, but the continuing lack of ideas in turning these situations into regular wins is not good enough. Add in the 2012 Cup Semi embarrassment, a total no show at Warrington (A) last August and losing to Saints last September and it's not pretty reading at all.
It's so frustrating because we beat the smaller teams pretty handsomely on most occasions, but its pointless doing so if we keep failing at the crunch point. Wane always has high standards of himself but what we are doing for the big games is consistently not working.
However he, and we've, time to get it right. Who knows but on Sunday Night we could be looking at being at Wembley and Warrington are not. Not predicting it but it could well happen and we'd be looking smug all of a sudden.
But we are certainly in a position of hoping things come together at the back end of this season, rather than expecting it!
This match against Saints was lost in the first and last twenty minutes. Saints came out with a real intensity in defence and that stifled us into some errors. The first try conceded to Adam Swift on 9 minutes was good coaching from Nathan Brown. I reckon they spotted our defence was slack on the short side at scrums and they went straight for it with Swift going over untouched.
Then on 15 minutes, Swift was in for a second with Jonny Lomax sending him over. Two conversions from Gareth O'Brien made it 12-0.
Wigan were now in a position of hanging in this game for a spell, but slowly we clawed our way back into it. I thought we got good impact off the bench, particularly from Scott Taylor. Mike McIlorum was also substituted and never returned.
Good hands got Pat Richards over in the left corner to make it 12-4 after 25 minutes following his missed conversion.
Wigan were still hanging in a little but got a superbly timed try on 39 minutes to narrow the gap before the break. Bomb went up and it wasn't defended by Saints, Charnley pouncing on the loose ball. Pat missed the extra's again but we should of been happy to be at 12-8 following that first half.
Second Half and Saints should have scored first after Joe Greenwood burst through but Ryan Hampshire tackled him superbly and dislodged the ball in the process to force the knock on.
Hampshire then pulled a double whammy because less than a minute later, he had thrown a dummy to find space and send Charnley towards the line. Josh still had work to do but he stood up Lomax before not only getting over but rounding off near the posts to make the conversion easier for Pat. Those extras put us ahead at 14-12.
We were well on top by now and were winning the pack battle with our interchange being stronger. But then came the much talked about since Scott Taylor incident. He was penalised for shoulder charging Gareth O'Brien. Now many have been screaming red card and awful tackle on forums since but the RFL have actually concluded the same way that I did on Wish FM commentary at the time.
I felt the injury was caused by O'Brien being sandwiched between Taylor's hit and his own Paul Wellens. It kind of made the tackle a double big hit.
I understand the issues with shoulder charge there but found it interesting to hear ex Saints Mike Bennett's thoughts. He was joining us on Wish FM to cover the Saints perspective (Wish FM covers both Wigan and Saints) and he actually told us that his opinion was that the shoulder charge should be legal. I can see the arguments about whether it was "shoulder to shoulder" or a direct head hit but the point I'd make is that I don't think its more than 50/50 that it was conclusive a head hit. I certainly didn't think it was late and he was committed. Penalty was given however and that allowed Saints to tie the game at 14 all through Tommy Makinson who had replaced the injurt departing O'Brien on goal kicks.
Two minutes later Wigan got the lead back following an amazing 45 metre drop goal by Pat Richards that was nailed from way out wide. I could live for 60 more years and I doubt I'll see a better one than that. Eat your heart out Joe Lydon!
That was so amazing it SHOULD of lifted us towards victory and demoralised Saints but we let them off the hook with some awful discipline in the next ten minutes.
I don't need to point them out because the fact Saints had three penalty goal attempts to re-take the lead said it all. They missed the first two by Makinson were poor misses and again this SHOULD of lifted Wigan and demoralised them but again we failed to enforce that.
Jordan Turner eventually put them ahead on 67 minutes when Blake Green was sin binned for being offside after a team warning.
So now we had 12 men and trailed 16-15 but first chance we got we were back level with a drop goal from Matty Smith.
In the end though that sin bin cost us dear and Tommy Makinson found a gap down the right to break and although he was tackled, a quick play the ball got Joe Greenwood over against a defence that hadn't recovered. That try came with four minutes to go and Wigan had no time to recover.
Sin bin cost us but was no excuse. We'd lost
this game in the ten minutes before that yellow card. I ultimately
believe this was a game we lost rather than Saints won. We had them
their for the taking but couldn't do the job, like we'd failed to
do so many times before. Like I said in opening this match report -
that is disappointing and comes down to team mentality. But take
nothing away from Saints. They deserved the win because their
discipline was far, far better!
Also Live on Sky 3D
Super League 18 - Round 22 Results
|Fri 19 July||Bradford Bulls 19 Hull FC 12||7,914|
|Fri 19 July||Leeds Rhinos 20 Wakefield Wildcats 18||18,387|
|Fri 19 July||Salford City Reds 16 Catalan Dragons 12||2,200|
|Fri 19 July||Widnes Vikings 38 London Broncos 12||4,870|
|Sun 21 July||Huddersfield Giants 48 Castleford Tigers 32||5,733|
|Sun 21 July||Warrington Wolves 34 Hull Kingston Rovers 6||9,838|
|Mon 22 July||St Helens 22 Wigan Warriors 16||14,204|
Super League 18 Table - After This Round
|6||Hull Kingston Rovers||22||12||0||10||546||619||-73||24|
|13||Salford City Reds||22||6||1||15||369||779||-410||*11*|
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