WIGAN SECURE 2ND PLACE
Wigan Warriors beat the Catalan Dragons 48-24 to secure 2nd place in the League and set-up a home Play-Off Semi-Final against Hull FC next Friday at the DW Stadium. Matty Smith stole the limelight on a fantastic night for Wigan scoring 24 points in total, which included two tries. The final scoreline actually flattered Catalans quite a bit, on and night that the Warriors thrashed the French outfit. The game was won the the first half, one in which Wigan won 36-4. Wigan continued their dominance early in the second half, then seemed to let their foot off the gas, and Catalans finished strong.
Wigan got off to a great start when after just 90 seconds, Gelling went over in the corner after some great solo work. Catalans had a good 5-10 minute period on the ball, with repeat sets on the Wigan line. However, the Dragons failed to capitalise on their chances and Wigan held them out with considerable ease. Wigan made them pay minutes later, after a superb Williams solo effort doubled their lead. Wigan would score two fantastic back-to-back tries in as many minutes through Bateman and Williams too even further their lead.
Wigan were in full control of the game, and Catalans hardly touched the ball in the Wigan half. Sean O’Loughlin had to withdraw from the side just before kick-off. His replacement, Joe Bretherton was the next to go over, for what was his first ever Wigan try, a special moment for the young lad. It took 33 minutes for Charnley to get in on the act, and the soon to be Sale Sharks player, would get on the end of a Anthony Gelling kick, to go the full length for their final try of the half.
Apart from 5-10 minutes early on, Catalans didn’t touch the ball in the Wigan half, and didn’t look like they were going to get close, nevermind score. However, after two penalties gave them some great field position, Catalans played their first bit of rugby to create a great try in the corner that was finished off by Duport. The try frustrated the Wigan fans as it came right on the halftime hooter. It put a bit of a sour taste on the scoreline, knowing they should have been going in 36-0 up.
GREAT WIGAN EFFORT
It was a fantastic performance from the Warriors in the first half, they completely blew the Dragons away. There wasn’t a bad try scored, each try had some great build-up play. In the last few weeks, Wigan have finally started to show the sort of Rugby League they can and should be playing. It’s just a shame its come so late in the season. Knowing what they do now, only finishing 1 point off top spot, there are games they will look back on knowing they should of won them.
As I sat their in the stands, I listened in on some of the conversations amongst the Wigan fans. Cries of “were has this been all season” and “why can’t we play exciting rugby like this every week”. It’s been a very frustrating season for the Warriors, even though they have reached a Challenge Cup Semi-Final and finished 2nd in the League. If you saw that on paper, without knowing the actual facts, it’s not the worse season that Wigan have had.
On the other hand, they could be hitting some form just at the right time. With their biggest game of the season to come next week at home to Hull FC in the Play-Off Semi-Final game, they may be playing their best Rugby of the season, just at the right time. They go into that game on the back of three straight wins, away at Hull FC, away at Warrington and at home to Catalans. If that doesn’t give them a huge confidence boost, I don’t know what will.
CATALAN FINISH STRONG
Wigan came out strong in the second half, and it took them just 3 minutes to get the second half rolling. Matty Smith was next to go over when a clean breakaway from Charnley was finished off by the scrum-half. Catalans hit back a couple of minutes later after a brilliant solo effort from Horo was finished off in the corner. In the 55th minute, Smith was over for his 2nd try of the game. This was a peach, as Smith put a grubber through and got to his own kick, only to kick it past the fullback and pounce on the ball to score the try.
Amazingly, that was to be the last points of the game for the Warriors. They just seemed to declare at 48, as from this point on, they didn’t really pose much of an attacking threat in the final 20 minutes or so. Not that they played bad, they just eased off and started to conserve energy for next weeks game. The Dragons had other ideas than to ‘go through the motions’, as they scored back-to-back tries in just over 5 minutes through Albert and Myler, to make the scoreline look a little better for the French outfit.
In 74th minute of the game, Horo was sent to the sin-bin after intentionally handling the ball in an offside position to stop a certain Wigan try. Wigan couldn’t capitalise, and in fact it was Catalans who scored the final try of the game after a great, powering effort from Sigismeau to go over in the corner. That was to be the last points of the game and Wigan secured their third win over Catalans this season with a comfortable 48-24 victory. They will now go on to play Hull FC in what will be a mouth-watering Play-Off Semi-Final.
IN THE SHEDS
There were no injuries to report during the game for either side.
Sean O’Loughlin withdrew from the Wigan side before kick-off. He was replaced by Joe Bretherton.
Justin Horo was sin-binned in the 74th minute after intentionally handling the ball in an offside position to stop a certain Wigan try
There were no incidents to report during the game that would call the RFL to look back on.
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane: “It was satisfying. If someone had given me that scoreline before the game I would have absolutely snatched their hands off – Catalans had nothing to lose and they have some impressive individuals.
“I’ll look at it in more detail tomorrow and get stuck into the players a bit.
“I’ve played in those sort of games and it’s very hard when you score in the first set and it’s 30-0 in no time – it is hard, although I expect and demand better.”
Credit to BBC Sport: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/37419746
Catalans Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous: “It was a poor first half – really, really poor. We were better in the second half but we lost it in that opening 40.
“We didn’t win the ruck for 40 minutes, it’s always hard to come to a place like Wigan if you don’t bring the right attitude.
“We were better in the second half, I cannot say that is pleasing but at least we gave an answer.”
Credit to BBC Sport: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/37419746
Wigan Warriors: (36) 48
Tries: Gelling, Williams 2, Bateman, Bretherton, Charnley, Smith 2
Goals: Smith 8/8
Catalans Dragons: (4) 24
Tries: Duport, Horo, Albert, Myler, Sigismeau
Goals: Myler 2/5
Wigan Warriors: Sarginson; Charnley, Gelling, Gildart, Tierney; Williams, Smith; Sutton, Powell, Nuuausala, Farrell, Bateman, Crosby.
Replacements: Tautai, Isa, Shorrocks, Bretherton.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Broughton, Garcia, Duport, Sigismeau; Albert, Myler; Stewart, Anderson, Horo, Bousquet, Aiton, Casty.
Replacements: Taylor, Da Costa, Navarrete, Seguier.
Referee: Phil Bentham
Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan
Date/Time: Friday 23rd September 2016 – 20:00pm GMT