Three late tries earned Wigan a hard-fought win over Warrington. Here’s our verdict…
The game started off at a high intensity, with the two teams looking ready for play-off action despite a number of changes on each side.
Warrington were on the front foot early, forcing Wigan into more errors and having more sets in the opposing half, but it wasn’t until a kick through from Patton that the Wolves really threatened, while Stefan Ratchford nearly had a try of his own, only for it to be turned down by the video referee.
It was then another kick and chase attempt, this time from John Bateman to Tommy Leuluai, where the Wigan number 9 got a clear touch on it to give Wigan a half time lead of 6-0.
It was Warrington who performed the better for much of the second half, but weren’t able to create a clear-cut scoring chance until Sam Tomkins’ sin binning for dissent.
Ratchford was the man to finally get them on the scoreboard, getting on the end of Patton’s kick to touch down, but George Williams then added a penalty goal to edge the Warriors back in front.
With 13 minutes to go, Dominic Manfredi was caught by a forceful swinging arm from Tom Lineham, which left the referee with little other option than to send the Wolves winger to the bin, and that proved to be the key moment in the game.
Wigan, and particularly Manfredi, took full advantage, with the returning winger scoring a brilliant solo try to out the Warriors in front before squeezing over for a second moments later.
Ryan Sutton then barged his way over in the final minutes, extending Wigan’s winning margin and giving the score a harsh look for the Wolves.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
It was a dream return to action for Dom Manfredi, after two years out of action with horrific injury problems.
The determination for what was effectively the winning try reflected what he’s been through, and both that and the second showed that his class in finishing hasn’t gone anywhere.
Wolves stand-ins impress
Despite the defeat there were positives for Steve Price to take out of the match, not least the performances of some of the players brought into a rejigged line-up.
Declan Patton’s kicking and game management impressed in the halves alongside Harvey Livett, while Luis Johnson was solid on debut, carrying well during his spells on the field.
Man of the Match – John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)
The forward again showed the class that Wigan will miss next season when he makes the move to the NRL, and he will be key in their search for Grand Final glory.
Wigan Warriors 26
Tries: Leuluai, Manfredi (2), Sutton
Goals: Tomkins (4), Williams
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington Wolves 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Wigan: Tomkins; Manfredi, Gildart, Sarginson, Davies; Williams, Leuluai; Clubb, Powell, Navarrete; Bateman, Isa, Hamlin.
Interchanges: Escare, Sutton, Partington, Tautai.
Warrington: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Charnley; Livett, Patton; G King, Clark, Westwood; Thompson, T King, Hughes.
Interchanges: Philbin, Smith, Pomeroy, L Johnson.
Referee: Robert Hicks