Josh Woods struck a late drop goal as Wigan claimed a dramatic 13-12 victory over Warrington Wolves at the DW Stadium. Read the match report here:
The game was tight in the opening stages, with both sides having half chances but no clear openings arrived at either end of the field.
It took almost 15 minutes for the opening points to be scored, but it was Wigan who hit the front when the first try did come. After forcing a drop-out, the ball was worked to the right and winger Tom Davies took in Tomkins’ pass before narrowly avoiding the defenders and squeezing over in the corner.
The Wolves responded shortly after with a flowing move to the right of their own which ended with Toby King touching down on 18 minutes. Goodwin missed the conversion meaning Wigan kept their lead.
It was the Warriors who looked the more dangerous outfit even after the Warrington try, though, and after some good defence from the visitors had quashed one potential try-scoring opportunity, Wigan did get their second of the game when young forward Liam Paisley crashed over for the first try of his senior career. Tomkins’ successful kick gave his side a two-score lead at half-time.
Warrington came out fired up as they looked to get back into the game with an early second-half try, but errors prevented them from making the most of their possession.
But their dominance did eventually tell when Tom Lineham scored with just over an hour played. An overlap was created on the left and a well-timed pass put Lineham in space before he stepped back inside of the covering defence to ground the ball. The conversion was again missed but the Wolves were back within touching distance at 12-8.
Wigan passed up the opportunity to go six points in front when they opted to go for another try rather than a penalty goal, a decision that almost cost them the points.
The Wolves held out to get the ball back and a penalty put them in Wigan territory, and just a few tackles later ex-Warriors winger Josh Charnley managed to put the ball on the whitewash despite the attention of three defenders to level the scores with three minutes remaining.
However, Ratchford’s attempt from the tee from the wide on the right touchline clipped the post and bounced away to set up a tense finale.
Tyrone Roberts sent Warrington’s only attempt at a one-pointer wide and out on the full to gift Wigan a seven tackle set, from which 20-year-old half-back Josh Woods slotted over a drop-goal with just seconds remaining to win it for the home side.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Second place almost secured
Wigan’s win has put them four points clear of third placed Warrington with just three games remaining of the regular rounds, meaning second placed is almost settled.
The Warriors have made hard work of claiming the ‘best of the rest’ title after 23 rounds having been inconsistent in recent weeks, however, one more win from their remaining games with Huddersfield, St. Helens and Catalans should be enough.
Goal kicking costs the Wolves
The Wolves failed to convert any of their three shots at goal in the game which ultimately cost them the game. Just one conversion would have been enough for the Wolves to come away from the DW with a win, but those misses mean they head back to Cheshire disappointed.
Big games like the contest tonight are often decided by narrow margins, and with the Super 8’s and play-offs getting ever nearer, the Wolves will have to learn from this loss and use it to their advantage in the crunch games in weeks to come.
Man Of The Match- Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors)
In a game that saw Warrington lose due to missed conversions, Tomkins’ successful goals proved crucial in the end-but it wasn’t just his performance with the boot that was impressive.
The fullback assisted Tom Davies for the first try while he was also a part of many of the positive attacking moves that his side put together, and he played a key part in dragging Wigan over the line as they won a game that keeps them above tonight’s opponents and just about in reach of the rampant St. Helens.
Wigan Warriors 13
Tries: Davies, Paisley.
Goals: Tomkins 2.
Drop Goals: Woods.
Warrington Wolves 12
Tries: T. King, Lineham, Charnley.
Drop Goals: n/a
Wigan Warriors: Tomkins, Davies, Bateman, Gildart, Marshall, Woods, Powell, Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Isa, Farrell, Hamlin.
Replacements: Escare, Field, Paisley, Tautai.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Kind, Charnley, K. Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Akauola, Hughes, Westwood.
Replacements: Crosby, Patton, Philbin, M. Brown.
Referee: Chris Kendall.