WIGAN were hailed as the team to beat after they ended their pre-season programme with a 24-18 win at Warrington last night.
On a night when Logan Tomkins made his first appearance in the side –alongside brothers Joel and Sam – the Super League champions edged a spirited friendly at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Michael Maguire said he was generally satisfied with the performance and said it had given him “a lot to think about” before the campaign starts against Saints on February 12.
Wolves coach Tony Smith admitted: “We are chasing Wigan. They were quicker than us and I was impressed with their goal-line defence. They were hard to crack.”
Maguire, who reported no fresh injury concerns, was always intending to give hooker Logan his first taste in the senior side in this game - which was rearranged from Sunday.
And the coach bowed to pressure from Joel and Sam to play all three siblings at the same time!
“I got the message from them asking could they all get on at the same time,” admitted Maguire, who started the game with Logan and Sam on the bench, and Joel at centre. “They’re three great kids and it was great to see all the brothers out there.” On Joel’s stint at centre, he added: “I thought he was good.
“He’s still working out how he can play it there, with his size... whether he plays back row or centre he’s an extremely good competitor.”
Sam Tomkins and Liam Farrell scored first-half tries to help Wigan to a 12-6 lead at half-time. Thomas Leuluai and Chris Tuson crossed after the break to make it 24-6, before the Wolves finished with two tries including a last-minute touchdown for Jon Clarke in his testimonial match.
Maguire added: “There were a lot of pleasing signs. We’ve worked extremely hard for a couple of months and we showed some of that.
“It was a scrappy ending but from a trial point of view it has given me a lot to think about before that first game.
“We’ve got a couple of days training, we’ll have a break and then it’s full on for what we’re about to face.”
Clarke, who started his Super League career at Wigan, added: “It’s mixed emotions for me, it’s nice to have a testimonial against my old club but I’d have preferred to have won.”