Catalans Dragons 33 Wigan Warriors 16: Five things we learned

Five things we learned from Wigan's 33-16 defeat to Catalans at the Nou Camp...

Sunday, 19th May 2019, 8:59 am
Updated Sunday, 19th May 2019, 9:59 am
Liam Marshall had a second-half try ruled out

1. First, the event.

And what an event it was. Catalans, Wigan, Super League in the Nou Camp - one of the most iconic venues in the world.

There was a carnival atmosphere before the game, a Magic Weekend feeling, with stalls and bars and activities for the kids. And that continued during the match, with chants from thousands of fans in the distinctive Catalonia colours.

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Wigan supporters made their presence heard, too; not even the fact only alcohol-free beer was served inside seemed to dampen the event!

There was a desperate absence of marketing around Barcelona - despite Super League being there in force - but on the day itself, Catalans put on a great show to mark the ground-breaking occasion.

2. Typical rugby league. Even when a record is set there's a mess-up!

Midway through the second-half a Barcelona official entered the press benches and declared a crowd of 26,241. But a Super League official rushed among the journalists to say Barca had made a mistake, and the real figure was, indeed, 31,555.

Either would have been a record crowd for a regular Super League match; the 31,555 represents around 6,500 greater than the previous record of 25,004, set by Wigan in 2005.

3. Catalans were good value for the win.

There was a vibrancy to their second-half performance, despite their lack of creative players, and their forwards - led by ex-Warriors No.9 Micky McIlorum - produced a powerful display.

The Dragons are the only side to beat both St Helens and Warrington this year, and the indications are they've tackled the soft underbelly which has led to huge defeats when things weren't going their way - including a 42-0 loss at the DW earlier this year. They put on a show for the droves of Catalonia people who turned out.

4. Liam Marshall scored Wigan's only try in the first-half, when they trailed 8-6, and early in the second-half he looked to go over again.

But the video referee rightly denied him a try, for a foot in touch, and moments later Catalans had countered - a possible 12-point swing. Wigan, under the spotlight and under pressure, melted and a three-try blitz in eight minutes put the result out of reach.

5. Adrian Lam described it as the worst performance of the season. It was a fair assessment.

While the event was memorable their performance was one they will quickly want to forget. Wigan have lost plenty of matches this season but they rarely get blown away - in Barcelona, only two late tries from Oliver Gildart and Zak Hardaker prevented this scoreline from being a landslide.

There was a bit of defensive bite in the first-half but they were far too sloppy with the ball, the forwards got bullied after the break and the whole performance just looked tired. In simple terms, they didn't look as 'up for it' as their buzzing opponents.

After three Super League wins on the bounce, and a narrow loss in the Cup at Warrington, it was a big step back. And it flagged questions which need answering at the Magic Weekend in Liverpool next weekend.