Talking RL: Comeback win was more important than just the two points
There may have been bigger comebacks, and even better ones, but I struggle to recall any as impressive.
In Wigan’s list of late revivals, a 14-point margin doesn’t sound a lot to overhaul – fightbacks at Hull KR and Bradford, in the play-offs, spring instantly to mind.
But to do it in 20 minutes, at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, against the league leaders, against a backdrop of questions about their attack, and while down to 12-men... wow.
It was an incredible achievement.
Super League needed the match to ignite some life, quality and entertainment into a season which has largely yoyoed between from ‘average’ and ‘poor’.
And make no mistake, Wigan needed it, too.
Not just because they now get a chance to finish second in the Super League ladder – and a home semi-final – but for the intangible.
You can’t measure self-belief and you can’t gauge levels of confidence, but Wigan’s players must be buzzing right now.
Victories over all their play-offs rivals – nilling St Helens, and comeback wins at Hull FC and Warrington – must give them a feeling approaching bullet-proof.
And it’s hard to put a value on that.
Flip it round – imagine how nervous they would be if they’d lost those three games?
There was so much to admire from their win at Warrington.
The confidence to look for offloads, when it may have been easier to go into damage-limitation mode, just shaded their resilience in defence.
And ahead of the Big One 6 on Friday against the Catalans Dragons, it has buzzed up the fans.
Frustration has been replaced with anticipation.
If they can keep their momentum rolling, and not let complacency creep in, they will charge into the play-offs in great shape.
On Friday morning our time, Brisbane and North Queensland battled out another thrilling, top-drawer tussle.
Brad Fittler later asked why all NRL games couldn’t be like that.
I echo his remarks about Super League, and Wigan’s epic against Warrington.
Sure, the stakes can’t always be high... and being picky, I’d prefer less interference from the referee.
But in terms of the passion, skill, scoring patterns and entertainment, it was great stuff – and I said as much on the 70th minute, when the result was on a knife-edge.
At a time when some fans are getting fed-up or frustrated by the quality of some of the games, it was great to be reminded just how good it can be at times.
At the risk of sounding like an old man with this question – has rugby league always had so many long-term injuries?
Ben Currie has been ruled out for nine months with an ACL injury which was “off the bone” (cue - gritted teeth and sharp intake of breath time).
It’s sad to see.
I was looking forward to seeing him play for England this year. But then, I was hoping to see Dom Manfredi crack into the Test side, too. And maybe Micky McIlorum would be recalled.
All have suffered horrible injuries, and I could name plenty more players, from other clubs, who’ve had long spells out. At wigan, Tony Clubb and Joel Tomkins are sidelined with serious injuries.
I may be looking back with blinkers here, but I don’t remember it always being like that.
I’ll stand corrected - I’ll try and find statistics - but if I’m right, then it may go someway to explaining the seeming drop in quality.