Wigan have moved level on points with Warrington after a 20-6 win at the DW Stadium.
The game was end to end until the 14th minut, when Wigan were able to break the injury stricken Wolves defence through Bevan French. The try came through some quick passing play, which ended with the new signing finishing in the corner. Zak Hardaker added the extras.
Moments later, Wigan doubled their lead, through some slick play from George Williams. The solo effort was finished off with a dummy, sending Stefan Ratchford the wrong way, and allowed the stand-off to score under the sticks. Hardaker slotted the easy two points.
Twenty-five minutes into the game, the home side were over again, this time through Hardaker. After the fullback put a fifth tackle grubber in, it turned into a mad phase of play. However, after some poor handling from the Wire, Wigan retrieved the ball and a sneaky offload, granted a free gap for Hardaker to score for his side. He then converted his try.
Both sides then came close to scoring but were ruled out for various reasons.
The second half began against the run of play, with Warrington running riot after some big hits by Ben Murdoch-Masila and Jason Clark. This granted the Wire some much needed field position and thought they had scored through Dec Patton. However, when referred to the video ref, the score was chalked off, due to the half back losing the ball when he tried to ground it.
However, this wouldn’t stop the away side, as a couple of minutes later, Patton had thought he had scored again. The attempt was sent up to the video ref again, with the same outcome, no try. This time for double movement.
However, a few minutes later, a frustrated Warrington gave away multiple penalties, which led to Wigan opting to take the two points near the sticks. Hardaker added the extras, which put the game to bed.
On the 60th minute, Wigan were down to twelve men, through a high tackle from Oliver Gildart. But even the man short, Wigan defence held.
As the clock wound down, Warrington did manage to get a consolation try through Tom Lineham. The winger scoring in the corner and stopping the whitewash. Patton added the extras.
The result means that Wigan have gone from being twelve points behind the Primrose and Blue back in June, to level on points today, and only trail the Wire on points difference. Up next for Wigan is a away game to struggling Wakefield in two weeks’ time, whilst for Warrington is the Challenge Cup final against rivals St Helens next Saturday.
Champions Claw Back
Nine league games ago, Wigan were starring at oblivion, sat eighth and only a few points off the bottom. They looked down and out. But what Adrian Lam has done at the DW is a minor miracle, only losing one out of the last nine, has seen a meteoric rise back up the table, and back into Grand Final contention. It would take a brave man to bet against them being at Old Trafford come October 13th.
Are the Wire wheels coming off?
Unlike the Cherry and Whites nine weeks ago, the Wire were on 26 points, two points behind leaders St Helens and eight points clear of third. Now they are only two points clear of fifth. Add to that, is the increasing injury list that includes Blake Austin, Jack Hughes, Josh Charnley and now Stefan Ratchford. A worrying crisis for Steve Price’s Barmy Army, just a week from Wembley.
Adrian Lam: “Stay Focused”
Wigan Head Coach Adrian Lam was pleased following his sides first win against Warrington this season. However, he doesn’t want his side to be complaisant as they go into the final few weeks of the season. He went on to say this. “They’ve (the players) got three days off now and then they’ll come into a normal week next week. We play Wakefield on the following Sunday, so it’s a fair break between. There’s a lot of time off there, and sometimes when you’re on a roll like this you want to keep playing, but I think we’ve just got to make sure we stay focused. We didn’t start the season well, but there’s a lot of experience to come back into the squad if we can get them in there somewhere.”
Steve Price: “We’ve still got strong belief”
After slumping to their fifth consecutive defeat in the League, Steve Price believes still have what it takes to win. Speaking after his sides loss he had this to say, “They are human beings and they’re playing for a different mindset to what we’re playing for. I was very encouraged by the second half. We got a reaction from the lads but time will tell. Even though we’ve had some tough losses of late, we’ve still got strong belief in the group. We’ll go down to Wembley and give it a big shot.”
Wigan Warriors 20
Tries: French, Williams, Hardaker
Goals: Hardaker (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington Wolves 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Wigan Warriors: Hardaker, French, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall, Williams, Leuluai, Clubb, Powell, Partington, Isa, Farrell, Smithies
Interchanges: Greenwood, Naverrete, Byrne, Sammut
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, King, Mamo, Smith, Patton, Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Livett, Akauola
Interchanges: J.Clark, Murdoch-Masila, Philbin, Westwood