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|Saturday 9th February 2008|
|Harlequins 28 Wigan Warriors 47|
|Twickenham Stoop, Twickenham, London|
|Engage Super League 13 - Round 1 of 27|
|Kick Off 3:00pm|
|1||Richard Mathers||T||1||Mark McLinden||T|
|14||Liam Colbon||2||Jon Wells|
|3||Darrell Goulding||T2||3||Matt Gafa||T2|
|4||George Carmont||4||David Howell|
|5||Pat Richards||G9||5||Rikki Sherriffe|
|6||Trent Barrett||DG||7||Danny Orr|
|7||Thomas Leuluai||6||Scott Hill||T|
|15||Andy Coley||8||Karl Temata|
|9||Mick Higham||9||Chad Randall|
|10||Iafeta Paleaaesina||T||10||Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook|
|12||Phil Bailey||13||Rob Purdham|
|16||Harrison Hansen||T||20||Jon Grayshon|
|13||Sean O'Loughlin||23||Henry Paul||T||G4|
|17||Michael McIlorum||T2||14||Julien Rinaldi|
|19||Paul Prescott||16||Gareth Haggerty|
|22||Joel Tomkins||17||Danny Ward|
|24||Eamon O'Carroll||18||Joe Mbu|
Well for 24 hours at least we went top of Super League for the first time since 14th September 2001 but this was not a great performance in my opinion.
The last twenty four minutes was 31-0 to Wigan but before then Quins were well on top with our defence struggling badly.
For the entire game I can't remember us holding out close to our own line. It probably did happen but mostly it was a case of - if Quins get close, they scored!
We also looked clueless in attack - until the last twenty minutes when Quins weak pack tired badly. I kept commenting during the game that we weren't making any breaks, whilst the Londoners made plenty!
But we finished well as we always do and I suppose a win is a win and I can except that as long as we improve next week against Castleford. I think we beat the weakest side in the league yesterday and 28 points conceded was not good enough. They'll have to improve a lot better in the coming weeks.
For the third season in a row Wigan began with an error from Sean O'Loughlin (who soon went off injured and did not return). A forward pass in France 2006, a penalty conceded against Warrington in 2007 and this year he threw a stray pass which ex Warrior Danny Orr gobbled up and BANG before you knew it we were 6-0 down. Matt Gafa scored the try with another ex Warrior Henry Paul adding the extras.
But Wigan responded well with Darrell Goulding scoring an excellent try. Trent Barrett and Richard Mathers combined to set it up but Goulding had to beat a couple of defenders before scoring. Pat Richards converted - 6-6.
Wigan then got two penalties in good attacking position and much to the consternation of some fans - they went for goal. Personally I was happy in the knowledge that penalty goals have been vital in many wins in the last couple of years. Didn't quite prove vital in this match but it give us the lead for the first time at 10-6.
Harlequins hit back though when a great mazy run from Mark McLinden was rewarded with four points. Paul missed the conversion so it was now 10-10.
Having retired Shane Millard in the off season, Wigan showed great faith in young hooker Mike McIlorum by giving him the chance rather than bringing in an experience back up hooker to Higham, and he rewarded that faith here by scoring the first of two tries on the day. This was a typical hookers try. From short yardage he forced his way over and Pat converted to make it 16-10.
At that point their were about 6 minutes to half time and I'm thinking "just get to the break" but no just with no long left a kick from Gafa was touched down by Scott Hill - Paul converted and 16-16 would be the half time score.
Wigan normally come out stronger in second halves and in the end it did prove that way but not before being made to sweat as the Londoners scored two tries early in the second half. It was all off the back of Wigan making mistakes, either fumbling or conceded penalties. After Paul had kicked a penalty goal, Harlequins were breaking through the Wigan line with ease first Paul and then Gafa (with his second) scored. Paul converted the first and missed the second but they had built a lead of 28-16 with 25 minutes to go. No team in their own back yard should cock that up!
Wigan were looking desperate. Defending poorly and you really couldn't see them coming back but I believe two big hits put in by Andy Coley lifted the teams spirits. Back to back from the play the ball Coley floored Harlequins attackers with clean hits! Hope we see more of that this season.
Bouyed by the big hits and also the fact they stopped conceding penalties, Wigan began to take advantage of Quins tiring defence and with that the gaps began to appear.
After Harrison Hansen went over in the 56th minute, Darrell Goulding got his second try on the hour mark and all of a sudden a healthy lead had been wiped out.
The Londoners collapsed in the final quarter with Wigan dominating possession. Feka Paleaaesina didn't make it as my "top player" but he was outstanding and topped his performance with a try. McIlorum then got a second before Mathers capped it off with a debut try as he capitalised on poor Quins defending. Trent Barrett also added a drop goal and Richards finishing with 9 kicks from 9 - which took his 100% pre season record into league action!
Super League 13 - Round 4 Result
|Sat 2 Feb||Leeds Rhinos 20 Hull Kingston Rovers 12||18,467|
Super League 13 - Round 1 Results
|Fri 8 Feb||Warrington Wolves 32 Hull FC 20||11,026|
|Sat 9 Feb||Harlequins 28 Wigan Warriors 47||8,041|
|Sat 9 Feb||Castleford Tigers 14 Catalan Dragons 21||7,060|
|Sun 10 Feb||Huddersfield Giants 10 Leeds Rhinos 30||15,629|
|Sun 10 Feb||Hull Kingston Rovers 24 St Helens 22||8,713|
|Sun 10 Feb||Wakefield Wildcats 26 Bradford Bulls 24||9,851|
Engage Super League 12 Table - After This Round
|6||Hull Kingston Rovers||2||1||0||1||36||42||-6||2|