A last-gasp Joe Burgess try rescued a point for the Wigan Warriors, as Shaun Wane’s men drew 24-24 with Warrington Wolves to close out the opening day of the 2017 Magic Weekend. Liam Marshall would score another hat-trick against the Wolves, but it wasn’t enough as Warrington came back strong.
SCRAPPY, ERROR-STRICKEN START
It was a very nervous start from both teams, as the opening 20-minutes or so, was littered with errors and penalties. It was a huge game for both sides, who were desperate for the vital two-points, and you could sense that tension on the pitch. It was Wigan who managed to settle first and in the 10th minute they got the game’s first try through Liam Marshall in the corner, following a lopping pass from the returning Sean O’Loughlin.
Warrington then started to grow into the game and forced a goal line drop-out following a clever Tom Lineham kick. The resulting attack ended up with a Daryl Clark try, after the hooker pounced on a loose ball that was knocked backed from Chris Hill. The game was level at 6-6 after just 16-minutes. You couldn’t split the sides, as both had converted their first real chance of the game.
The game would go rather slow for a period, as both traded knock-ons and gave away some real soft penalties. The discipline of the game was way off, to were it’s expected, and it just slowed the game down. Then, in the 25th minute Liam Marshall went 90-metres following an interception to bring the game to life again, and put Wigan back in front, as they led 12-6. It was yet another try against Warrington for the young winger.
WARRINGTON PUSHED WIGAN CLOSE
It looked as if Wigan were going to hit Wire for the quick one-two, as O’Loughlin broke through, only for his resulting pass to be knocked-on, and the chance went begging. Shortly after, Marshall looked like he had completed another hat-trick against Warrington this season, until the video referee denied him the try as the winger’s foot was in touch. Following that no-try, Warrington kicked on and started to push Wigan.
In the final 5-10 minutes of the half, they kicked on hard, and looked set to level the match up right before halftime. It looked even more likely in the 37th minute as Warrington broke through and Lewis Tierney held on to Stefan Ratchford too long and was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul. This came at the worst possible time in the worst possible place for Wigan, and the best for Warrington.
However, they were unable to convert as they knocked-on in the resulting attack. They had another go at the Wigan line, only for former Warrior, Dom Crosby to be held-up over the line, and yet again Warrington knocked-on in the corner. Another chance went begging, and Wigan managed to scrape into halftime, still with their 12-6 lead. I can’t imagine Tony Smith would have been too pleased with their efforts in the final minutes of that first half.
MARSHALL LOVES IT AGAINST WARRINGTON
Wigan would be without Lewis Tierney for the opening seven-minutes of the second half, and had to stay strong to keep Warrington out in that time. As they pushed the Wigan line, you sensed that they’d score, however, Wigan’s stubborn defence mixed in with some handling errors from the Wolves kept the scores at 12-6. As Tierney was about to re-enter the field, Wigan would go over for the first try of the half.
It was that man Liam Marshall yet again, who completed his hat-trick, and made it seven tries in just two games against Warrington, what is even more impressive is that none of them have been at the DW Stadium. It was a wonderful little solo try as the winger kicked through the Wolves defence and got on the end of his own kick to put Wigan 18-6 ahead. It was a great start to the half, one that Wigan needed to make.
Warrington started to take control of the game, as Wigan started to dip. They were rewarded with two tries in the space of five-minutes through Stefan Ratchford and Tom Lineham, which pulled them back to just 18-16 behind, with still over 20-minutes to go in the game. It was a poor effort from Wigan following their try, and they let the Wolves back in the game with considerable ease.
WIRE WILL BE DEVASTATED
In the 66th minute, Ratchford kicked a penalty-goal to level the game up at 18-18. Then, minutes later, Williams would kick one of his own to give Wigan the lead once again at 20-18, with just under 10-minutes to go. It was a real nervous, nail-biting finish to the game, one in which Warrington had the better of. As a Wigan fan, it started to feel like it wasn’t going to be your day, even with the two-point lead.
Then, in the 75th minute, Jack Hughes burst through the Wigan defence to put Warrington ahead for the first time in the game, and as Stefan Ratchford kicked the conversion, they led 24-20 and looked set to have snatched the win late on, and break Wigan hearts. Wigan would fluff the restart, and Warrington had possession again, and it looked inevitable as they forced a goal line drop-out from the resulting attack.
However, there was to be another late twist as Warrington were deemed to have knocked-on from the drop-out and Wigan had less than two-minutes to go a full 90-metres. On the last tackle, O’Loughlin sent a high bomb up in hope, and Joe Burgess leaped like a salmon to collect the ball and level the game with seconds to go, in the most dramatic fashion. Williams missed the chance to win it for Wigan, as the game finished 24-24.
It was an unbelievable finish to a real tense game of rugby league. One in which made it nine-unbeaten years at the Magic Weekend for Wigan.
Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane:
“I’m gutted to be honest. I want to win with these kids, I don’t like drawing. 14 of them have come through our system so we should be very proud.
“I’m proud of the effort but we didn’t take enough of our chances. Warrington are too good for that.
“I’m so proud of the desire we showed time and time again. I’m just gutted for the players that they didn’t get the two points.”
Warrington Wolves head coach Tony Smith:
“When you work yourself into a winning situation, and you don’t win, it’s disappointing, but I’m sure Wigan will think the same.
“I thought there was a knock on by Liam Farrell on the drop-out, and I didn’t see one from Kev (Brown). But again, Wigan’s sin-bin was harsh.
“It’s really hard for the referees to get the big calls right at the moment. Lots of scrappy play the balls, and too many hard calls.”
IN THE SHEDS
Wigan would lose Josh Woods in the 14th minute due to an ankle injury, he didn’t return.
Wigan’s Lewis Tierney was sent to the sin-bin in the 37th minute for a professional foul on Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford.
Wigan’s Frank-Paul Nuuausala could be in trouble this week, as he appeared to thrown Ryan Atkins’ boot into the crowd after the centre lost it, in a tackle. It was silly play from the Wigan forward, and the RFL could well punish him.
Wigan Warriors: (12) 24
Tries: Marshall 3, Burgess
Conversions: Woods 1/1, Williams 2/3
Penalties: Williams 1/1
Warrington Wolves: (6) 24
Tries: Clark, Ratchford, Lineham, Hughes
Conversions: Ratchford 3/4
Penalties: Ratchford 1/1
Wigan Warriors: Tierney, Davies, Forsyth, Burgess, Marshall, Williams, Woods, Nuuausala, McIlorum, Sutton, Isa, Farrell, O’Loughlin.
Interchanges: Tautai, J. Tomkins, Wells, Field.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Russell, Hughes, Atkins, Lineham, Brown, Gidley, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Jullien, Westwood, Westerman.
Interchanges: Crosby, Philbin, Dwyer, G. King.
Referee: Ben Thaler
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle
Date/Time: Saturday 20th May 2017 – 19:00pm GMT