Winder pleased despite defeat

Oliver Gildart
Oliver Gildart

ASSISTANT coach John Winder was pleased with his young side’s performance against Leigh in their first hit-out of 2016.

Wigan raced into a 14-0 lead early on and were ahead 20-16 at one stage in the second-half, but went down 26-20 at a bitterly-cold Sports Village.

It was a really good hit-out, some of the young lads stood up against a very good Leigh team

John Winder

Josh Charnley scored two tries, sandwiching a double by fellow winger Liam Marshall, but it wasn’t enough against an experienced Centurions side featuring star signings Willie Tonga, Rangi Chase and Cory Paterson.

“It was a really good hit-out, some of the young lads stood up against a very good Leigh team,” said Winder, who was in charge for the game.

“They all had a dig and young Jack Wells did well - an 18-year-old and you look at the two backrowers he was against, Harrison Hansen and Gareth Hock, he showed up well. Joe Bretherton carried strongly as well.”

Recruit Willie Isa showed touches of quality in his first game for the Warriors, after being drafted into the squad late on.

“He started full training at the back end of last week and so we brought him in, he had some limited time - he only played 40 minutes - but when he moved to the middle he was particularly effective,” said Winder.

Prop Lee Mossop left the action shortly before half-time and never returned from a “slight bang” which was being assessed last night.

Isa wasn’t the only forward who made a surprise appearance.

Former Wigan favourite Harrison Hansen started for Leigh despite having a one-game ban still to serve from the end of last year. Leigh had said in the build-up that he would be unavailable, but he figured and even took the Arthur Thomas award as man of the match.

“We put our squad in and there were no dramas surrounding it,” said Centurions coach Paul Rowley.

“We checked and it was clear.

“My understanding is you put your squad in, and if there are no objections, you play your team. Whether he misses the next game or not, I’m not sure - it wouldn’t have fazed me if he hadn’t played.”

Tony Clubb, Dom Manfredi and Joel Tomkins were in the provisional squad but didn’t figure. Winder said none had serious injuries, and they may figure in a stronger side for their second and final senior friendly, at Salford, next Sunday.