WIGAN coach Shaun Wane bemoaned an “absolutely unacceptable” performance as Warrington cranked up the pressure at the top of Super League with a convincing victory on Saturday.
Victory for the Warriors would have all-but secured top spot with three rounds still to go.
But the visitors deservedly went down 30-10 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and now their lead is down to one point over the in-form Wolves.
“We weren’t at the races,” admitted Wane.
“It was very disappointing. We didn’t play how we trained all week.
“Our start was poor.
“We had a 37 per cent completion rate in the first 20 minutes, and that is absolutely unacceptable.
“The players need to work much harder.
“We didn’t trust the game-plan we had and made too many errors against a quality team.
“To concede 30 points has massively gutted me. The players are devastated and quite rightly so.
“It was a massive game and we were desperate to win it, but we came up against a team that just wanted it more than us.”
Virtually none of the Wigan players enhanced their reputations on an instantly forgettable afternoon, with Wane’s decision to gamble on the fitness of stand-off Brett Finch backfiring spectacularly.
The Australian, nursing a hamstring problem, hadn’t been named in the original 19-man squad but was pressed into action after rookie Sam Powell suffered a back injury on the eve of the game.
“Sam wasn’t fit and Tommy Leuluai is still out so I couldn’t go anywhere else,” Wane revealed.
“Brett is a seasoned pro and I thought he’d have got through it, but he was struggling with it.”
The only bright spot of a miserable weekend was the successful comeback of long-term absentee Pat Richards in the Under-20s curtain-raiser, in which Wigan were beaten 32-20.
“I’ll look at him tomorrow to see how he pulls up and consider him for next week,” Wane added.
ENGLAND’S Academy team – featuring young Warriors George Williams and Connor Farrell – were soundly beaten 40-14 by the Australian Schoolboys in the second Test in Brisbane to lose the series 2-0.
The game was marred by a 26-man brawl inside the first five minutes, and both sides finished with 12 men after England’s James Cunningham and Australia’s Brad Deitz were red-carded after the break.