WIGAN MAKE IT 3 ON THE SPIN
Wigan Warriors made it 3 League wins in a row on Friday night at the AJ Bell Stadium, after a struggling victory against Salford Red Devils.
After whats been a struggle of a season for Wigan, with poor performances, results and lack of key personnel. It’s started to take shape in recent weeks with some great results away from home. Wigan have now secured more points away from home this season (10) than they did for the whole of last season, including the Super 8’s (9).
For Wigan, it was an almost carbon copy of last weeks performance against Castleford. They started the game off well, taking an early lead, then slipped away and lacked in discipline at times to give Salford possession. Wigan grew back into he game towards the end of the first half and took a 11-10 lead into halftime.
WIGAN’S BACKS CONTINUE TO IMPROVE
Since the defeat to Hull in early May, Wigan have started to improve as a team, mainly in their backs. In their last 3 games against Leeds, Castleford and Salford, they have been much more confident in their attacking prowess and you see the players trying new things each game. Instead of the usual inside ball that we’ve seen from them all season.
In their last 3 games, Wigan’s backs have scored and kicked a total of 68 points. Something that they’ve struggled to do all season. Charley followed up his 2 tries last week with a hat-trick against Salford this week.
After a tricky opening half, Wigan came out strong in the second half and scored 2 tries through Charnely. They seemed to have unsettled Salford as they struggled on the ball and started to give away too many penalties, helping Wigan down the field.
WIGAN STRUGGLE TO SEE A GAME OUT
While they have been two fantastic wins these past 2 weeks. Wigan have almost thrown them away late on. It’s hard to pinpoint, exactly what changes, however, Wigan seem to lose all self belief and ability when it comes to seeing a game out.
Wigan led 23-10 with 8 minutes to go. It seemed all but over, then all of a sudden, the unforced errors crept in. Wigan knocked on more than 2 times in the final 10 minutes and gave away back to back penalties. Salford went over through Jones and made it 23-16 with 5 minutes to go. The nerves set in for Wigan fans in the stands, as they’d been here before this season.
Salford started to pile on the pressure and went upfield to score yet again through Vidot. Salford missed the conversion and trailed 23-20 with just 2 minutes remaining. Salford where up field yet again with seconds remaining as Carney put in a huge bomb on the full time hooter, however, Charnely recovered the ball and ended the game, to Wigan’s relief.
VIEW OF THE MANAGERS
Salford coach, Ian Watson seemed disappointed with the overall performance and didn’t think they deserved to steal the win at the end. Watson said:
“We did some dumb stuff so we didn’t deserve to win the game. We didn’t deserve to pinch it at the end and it probably would have been unfair to pinch it.
“We just need to start backing ourselves and being a bit smarter in what we do.”
“We’re in every game at the moment and that’s a good thing about the group that we compete to the end.”
Wigan coach, Shaun Wane seemed happy with the result, but disappointed with the finish to the game from his lads. Wane said:
“It was a great effort that and I’m happy. A couple of things upset me towards the end of the game with the way we defended with cheap ball at important times.”
“We’ve had a great week this week and shown some real character.”
“But on the back of that to get a decent win against a team who is playing really well, I’ve got to be really happy.”
IN THE SHEDS
While there where plenty penalties in the game, it wasn’t as dirty game. There was a period in which Salford lost their cool and Robert Lui caught Manfredi around the head with a stray arm. The incident wasn’t put on report, however, I feel the RFL may look back at the incident.
Wigan’s Greg Burke and Sam Powell clashed heads early in the first half. They both left the field to get concussion checks. Powell returned shortly after, however, Burke did not.
Ben Flower of Wigan took a nasty knock to his face in the second half. After the game as the players came to the fans, you could see how swollen his eye was. It seemed on first glance to be a fractured cheekbone. I’m sure there will be more details on a potential injury next week.
FINALS SCORE – MATCH DETAILS
Salford Red Devils: (10) 20
Tries: Dobson, Jones, Vidot
Goals: Dobson 1/2, Lui 1/2
Wigan Warriors: (11) 23
Tries: Charnley 3, Sutton
Goals: Smith 3/5
Drop Goals: Smith 1
Salford Red Devils: Vidot; Carney, Jones, Sau, Bibby; Lui, Dobson; Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Hauraki, Flanagan.
Replacements: Lannon, Walne, Williams, Joseph.
Wigan Warriors: S Tomkins; Manfredi, Gildart, Sarginson, Charnley; Williams, Smith; Crosby, Powell, Flower, Burke, Isa, J Tomkins.
Replacements: Mossop, Tautai, Sutton, Brotherton.
Referee: Gareth Hewer
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium, Salford
Date/Time: Friday 3rd June 2016 – 20:00pm GMT