Five things we learned from Wigan’s 24-24 draw with Warrington at Newcastle’s Magic Weekend...
1. Joe Burgess was angry with himself for letting Jack Hughes slip beyond him to score a try which put Warrington ahead for the first time in the 75th minute.
But the winger-turned-centre more than made amends in a dramatic finish, showing great athleticism to leap and collect Sean O’Loughlin’s pin-point kick to claim Wigan’s first draw of the season, and stretch their unbeaten Magic Weekend record into a ninth year. But...
2. The Warriors earned a final roll of the dice after Kevin Brown was ruled to have knocked-on.
Asked about the call, Wolves coach Tony Smith said: “Where it went backwards? I thought it was a knock-on by Liam Farrell first.”
Smith, though, wasn’t seeking excuses - he thought Lewis Tierney’s sin bin was a harsh call - and used his post-match press conference to call for greater investment in refereeing to get two-referees in matches.
“There are big calls they are getting wrong,” he said. “We need to come up with solutions to make it easier for them. We didn’t execute well enough today. Neither side was at their best.”
3. Neither side may have been at their best – and Shaun Wane described it as a ‘point lost’ – but the spectacle was better for it.
After two blow-outs in the earlier matches, the 35,000 fans were treated to an entertaining, if occasionally scrappy, contest.
Stefan Ratchford provided Warrington’s highlight with a silky try, while Liam Marshall bagged a hat-trick – his long-range second the pick of the bunch – and went close to a fourth. He scored four in his last outing against the Wolves, too.
4. There were two skirmishes in a stormy spell in the second-half, while Frank-Paul Nuuausala was spotted throwing the boot of Warrington’s Benjamin Jullien into the crowd in the build-up to Hughes’ try!
The match review panel will view the game on Monday and decide whether to issue any cautions or charges.
Wigan travel to St Helens on Thursday and then host Wakefield on Monday - both sides won comfortably in their Saturday matches. Saints had new coach Justin Holbrook in charge for the first time as they crushed Hull FC 45-0.
5. Where next for the Magic Weekend?
Super League chiefs have already hinted it will move away from Newcastle after three successive seasons at St James’ Park. There is nothing wrong with the venue, or the city, but there is a feeling a move to new territory would freshen-up the Magic Weekend concept. Liverpool, London, Coventry and a return to Manchester’s Etihad have been mentioned. Cardiff and Edinburgh have staged past Magic events.