WIGAN LEAVE IT LATE TO GO TOP OF THE LEAGUE
Twelve-man Wigan Warriors came from 18-10 down to beat the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in dramatic fashion to extend their winning run to 7 matches.
In a game which saw Wigan have Manfredi and Charnley sent to the sin-bin, followed up with a red card for Sean O’Loughlin. Wigan dug really deep and used all their experience to claim a sensational victory which saw them go to the top of the league, after Hull FC’s loss at home to bottom of the league Leeds Rhinos.
Wigan started the game very poorly, Wakefield where on top from the start and gained control of the game early on. They where rewarded with the opening try of the game through full-back Jowitt. It only got worse for Wigan when Manfreid was sent to the sin-bin for striking out in the tackle. Wakefield didn’t take advantage, and like last week, Wigan scored while down to 12-men through Gildart.
As Manfredi returned to the field, Wigan found themselves down to 12-men again as Charnley was dismissed for a professional foul. Not long after, Wigan would take a surprise lead when Powell went over for the try. Wakefield came close to taking the lead on half time, but Wigan’s 12-man defence held strong, and Wigan went in 10-6 up at halftime.
A GAME OF POOR DISCIPLINE
While many Wigan fans (myself included) continued to moan and groan at the referee for continuous poor decisions. When you took a step back from the blinkered fans view of the game, you could clearly see that Wigan’s discipline was poor for the duration of the game.
Wigan had 2 players sent to the sin-bin and 1 red carded. All of the big decisions in the game where called correctly. Manfredi was sin-binned for striking out in the tackle, it seemed that he elbowed the Wakefield defender. Charnley was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul as he dragged down a Wakefield player as he was chasing down the ball.
Then the big decision to send Wigan Captain Sean O’Loughlin off just before half time. It was a really bad challenge, while he seemed to catch Chris Anakin just below the neck, it was a reckless, mistimed challenge and it was a warranted red card, theres no complaints at all.
A WIN TO SAVIOUR
Wakefield started the second half strong, scoring early on through Reece Lyne to take the lead. The Wildcats threw everything at Wigan and where rewarded with another try through Ben Jones-Bishop to extend their lead to 16-10. Finn would later add a penalty to stretch their lead to an 8 point game at 18-10.
Wigan’s performance in the final 20 minutes of this game was sensational. They dug real deep, showed great determination, passion and true grit to claw their way back into the game. Their pressure payed off when Lewis Tierney went over in the corner to reduce the gap to 2 points at 18-16.
Wigan continued to press, however Wakefield held strong, keeping Wigan out with back to back sets on their line. The game seemed over when Wakefield received a penalty with 1.28 to go in the game. However they knocked on in the first tackle and Wigan had one more opportunity. They would storm up field and a little grubber from Williams was pounced on by Tierney as the hooter sounded to seal a dramatic win for the Warriors.
It was a sensational victory for Wigan, one which saw them go to the top of the league following Hull FC’s loss at home to bottom of the league Leeds Rhinos. This was a win to saviour, and the Wigan players can be proud of their efforts in that second half, coming from behind to win the game with just 12 men on the pitch.
VIEW OF THE MANAGERS
Wigan coach Shaun Wane seemed proud of his lads, and talked about the effort. Wane said:
“I’m very proud of our effort and desire.”
“To come up with that win was extra, extra special. It’s a very proud victory, not for the club, but mainly for a junior department.”
“Me and Rads (Kris Radlinski, rugby director) hugged like we have never hugged before. It meant a lot to him and to me.”
Wakefield head coach Chris Chester was clearly disappointed with the result, but blames them switching off late on. Chester said:
“There are a lot of disappointed players in the dressing room. It’s heartbreaking to lose in that fashion but Wigan were very clinical.”
“I know they had a lot of kids out there, but they brought plenty of energy and enthusiasm and fair play to Wigan for that.”
“I thought for large parts we had the game in control, it just shows you can’t afford to switch off.”
IN THE SHEDS
Wigan had 2 players sent to the sin-bin, Manfredi for striking out in the tackle and Charnley for a professional foul. Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin was shown a red card for a poor high tackle on Wakefield’s Chris Anakin.
Wakefield lost Chris Anakin after the high tackle from O’Loughlin, the player didn’t return to the game.
Wigan lost Josh Charnley near the end of the game to a shoulder injury, after the game he appeared to have it strapped up, padded with ice.
Wigan Warriors: (10) 22
Tries: Gildart, Powell, Tierney 2
Goals: Smith 3
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: (6) 18
Tries: Jowitt, Lyne, Jones-Bishop
Goals: Finn 3
Wigan Warriors: Tomkins; Tierney, Charnley, Gildart, Manfredi; Williams, Smith; Bretherton, Powell, Flower, Isa, Sutton, O’Loughlin.
Replacements: Tautai, Shorrocks, Shelford, Davies.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Jowitt; Hall, Lyne, Tupou, Jones-Bishop; Miller, Finn; Fifita, Moore, Arona, Molloy, Ashurst, Sio.
Replacements: Annakin, Walker, Walton, Arundel.
Referee: James Child
Venue: The DW Stadium, Wigan
Date/Time: Friday 8th July 2016 – 20:00pm GMT