Salford Red Devils 16 Wigan Warriors 17: Five things we learned

Five talking points from Wigan's 17-16 victory at Salford on Saturday...

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 8:47 am
Updated Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 8:48 am
Jackson Hastings welcomes back Wigan fans to a game

1. Jackson Hastings produced many moments of magic in front of fans at the AJ Bell Stadium.

And with less than three minutes to go, the Australian halfback stepped up to coolly slot over a drop goal which ultimately secured the win.

It was the first time all match the Warriors had led the game and it ensured they maintained their perfect start to the Super League campaign, with seven wins from seven.

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2. Sport is full of cliches.

And the one about 'a good team winning games without playing well' would certainly be appropriate for Wigan's display.

Much of their damage is self-inflicted through errors, sloppy passes and penalties. Fortunately, they have the defensive grit to stay in a game - they have proven it time and again - and they did it again on Saturday.

But the sooner they can scrub the mistakes from their displays, and add some finesse, they really will be hard to stop.

3. March, 2020. And at the AJ Bell Stadium, fans are muttering about football postponing their campaign because of this coronavirus and counting their blessings rugby league is still on.

More than 400 days later, 400 Wigan fans got to watch their first game - up close and personal - again, ironically at the same venue.

And oh how they loved it. The walk to the ground (either that, or parking was £8!), the congregating, the chatter, the chants. Applauding when the players jogged out to warm-up and later walked out for a match featuring as many spills as thrills.

They will have nearly four weeks to wait before they're back at the DW Stadium.

4. With so many frontline absentees, Adrian Lam had a decision to make when he picked his side; play young back Sam Halsall and leave out a more experienced forward... or move a forward to the backline and leave out Halsall?

He went for the latter, though it was Joe Shorrocks - rather than Liam Farrell or John Bateman - who moved to centre for the first time in his career. The constant disruption may go some way to explaining their clunky passages, and the sooner they can get a consistent side out, the better.

Zak Hardaker was again quiet on the wing but before the break reverted to his preferred full-back role, albeit in unfortunate circumstances. Here's hoping Bevan French's leg injury is not serious.

5. All three of Wigan's tries were quirky in their own way.

Quirky in that prop Brad Singleton - rather than an outside back - scored two of them. And the other also belonged to a forward, Liam Farrell, thought it is Harry Smith who deserved the praise for sprinting and pinging his way down field, evading Morgan Escare before finding the England back-rower in support.

Smith also continued with the goal-kicking role and hit two from three. The Warriors head to Catalans in their next match, on Saturday.