Five talking points from Wigan’s 38-16 win at Warrington...
1 Wigan, so often slow-starters, have made a flying opening to their 2017 campaign.
This was their fifth-straight win, the first time they have achieved that feat since 1998 - when many of the current stars weren’t even at primary school.
Wigan had so much energy and confidence, and were well marshalled by their halfbacks. Thomas Leuluai brought the calmness, George Williams the stardust, and both kicked well.
Shaun Wane was unable to identify any difference from this to past seasons, and stressed they were not getting carried away; he knows better than anyone how quickly things can change in the fickle world of sport. But either way, this was a performance to savour, a start to the season to celebrate, a derby to enjoy.
2 Fans will remember this one for a long time; Liam Marshall will remember it for the rest of his life. Playing only his second game for his hometown club, the winger raced away for four tries to firmly announce himself on the big stage.
With Liam Forsyth, on the other wing, safe under the high ball and showing a couple of nice attacking touches, and Jack Wells and Romain Navarrete coming into the side, too, it was little wonder Wane wasn’t worried when his casualty list stretched to nine frontline players. This wasn’t all about the youngsters, of course, with the elder statesmen playing vital roles.
It’s as much fun to watch Joel Tomkins defend these days as it was watching him attack in his 2010-11 prime, while Sean O’Loughlin was that good, he could even set-up tries by bouncing passes off the ground.
3 It’s early days, but Morgan Escare already looks like a fine recruit.
His defensive abilities defy his stature, he is safe at the back, and in attack he has added some French polish (sorry). He showed his zip when he blazed down field, which eventually led to an Anthony Gelling try.
There’s a strong case he is among the best three signings made by a club this year, along with Greg Bird (Catalans) and Zak Hardaker (Castleford).
And yes, it raises the question: where will they both play when full-back Sam Tomkins is fit? See my comment on that:
4 Warrington are bottom of the table for another week following a fourth straight loss in Super League.
They are the only club without a point this season – their fabulous win against Brisbane in the World club Series seems a long time ago.
While they weren’t far off in their previous defeats, on Thursday night they were miles off. Wigan made them look poor at times... but the Wolves shot themselves in the foot a few times, too.
Of course, they’re still missing Ben Currie, Chris Hill and Stefan Ratchford – three of their best players – and it’s doubtful if any of the Wigan fans who were chanting, ‘You’re going down’ actually believed it – but their miserable run has certainly put their trip to Leigh next Thursday under sharper focus.
5 Off the field, Warrington were let down by a minority of their fans, who were seen scuffling with stewards after the match. The trouble followed outside, with reports on social media some home fans were throwing missiles at the Wigan supporters. One needed hospital treatment after being hit in the head with a glass.
Calls have been made to the police and the RFL to see what action, if any, is being taken (check news section on this website for updates).
The ugly scenes provided a disappointing post-script to the game; Warrington will surely be as keen as anyone to identify the culprits and take necessary action.