The 18th Man: Wigan fans react to Leigh win

Wigan Warriors fans reflect on their team's win at Leigh and look ahead to their clash with Salford

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 10:38 am
Dom Manfredi goes over for a try on Monday at Leigh (Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire)
Dom Manfredi goes over for a try on Monday at Leigh (Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire)

Reflections on the win at Leigh.. and what do you want to see from Wigan when they head to Salford on Saturday?

Sean Lawless: The Leigh win was just what Wigan needed from that game, a win.

It wasn’t pretty at times, in fact the first 30 minutes felt very much like the first game of the season again and Wigan’s defence looked as if they were feeling sorry for themselves after the Challenge Cup exit.

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But once the possession evened up, Wigan looked the much better side and beat what was in front of them. The magic of French at full back, the organisation of Hastings and an impact from the bench from Mitch Clark being the standouts.

For Salford, with doubts around Smithies, I would love to see Kai Pearce-Paul get a run in the team, his debut on the same ground last season against St Helens was exciting, a rangy backrower who looks like he wants to offload from every carry could be an exciting new dimension to Wigan’s play.

Darren Wrudd: The first 20 minutes at Leigh felt like we had just rolled on from last week.

A few errors, the odd poor decision, and leaking points. It seems however that whilst stood behind the posts, a collective effort to reboot was discussed and we decided enough was enough.

Almost like flicking a switch, we began to put moves together and force some great yardage sets to roll Leigh down the field.

From then on we were in control. Salford are hurting at the moment and will want a reaction to the drubbing they got last week.

But if we remain focussed and do our job, we will brush them aside and move on.

Jon Lyon: I think we have to be very happy with the win at Leigh. It was essentially their cup final, with their results so far, to beat us would have made their season.

When you add in their fans being allowed in for the first time then we were up against it.

As has happened often, we started slowly but ground our way back into the game and our superior fitness earned us the right to play some good rugby and allowed us to win relatively comfortably.

Apart from a faster start I’m happy with the way the team is going.

Despite, or because of, being nilled by Saints, Salford will be a tougher test.

The more French, Hastings and Smith play together the better our combinations will be so we should improve again attack wise.

If we can find a consistent goal kicker we should be able to win by between 12-18 points.

Now fans are back, what’s the best, funniest or most memorable chant you’ve heard?

Sean Lawless: Wigan have had and have some great chants and I cant wait to hear them again in grounds. You can’t beat someone singing and just making up the words or someone very young, singing something a little inappropriate – a seven year old singing “I want curly hair too” with every word, can be quite entertaining! I never thought I would ever say this but get me back in that away end at Leeds with the random home fans who insist on standing around you and act like you’re in the wrong stand, whilst singing!

We are very nearly there!

Darren Wrudd: No doubt like the others, there are many chants which could not be printed here which flash into my memory.

But I love it when Castleford chant ‘ Shall we sing a song for you…’

Then go on with a ‘ Wigan, Wigan…..’ chant in a squeaky high voice. One of my favourites though had to be Leigh several years ago in Super League.

Wigan fans were mercilessly chanting ‘you’re going down, You’re going down…..’ then the Leigh fans chanted the reply…. ‘So are we, so are we so are weeee’.

Jon Lyon: Crowds of most clubs have given me a laugh over the years. Not all of them are printable though. The “it’s always your year” chant by pretty much everyone against Warrington always makes me laugh.

Another I remember from a few years ago was aimed at Eorl Crabtree… “you’re just a fat Robbie Savage”.

There’s not much better than two sets of fans in a singing battle, and most teams are imaginative. Anything except “yooorkshire, yooorkshire” will do for me.

And finally, a curveball; after Wigan’s Mike Grundy’s appearance in the UFC last weekend – of the current Warriors squad, who do you think would do the best (in their weight class) in the octagon?

Sean Lawless: Any Wigan player that had the experience of growing up with Shaun Wane as their coach, is going to have a pretty good pedigree when it comes to the wrestle!

I would go for Sam Powell, a smaller bloke who takes on players much bigger than he is in the middle of the field, minute after minute.

His technique is also UFC certified at times, he always manages to get his third man in tackles perfectly placed at knee height or above, to the annoyance of the commentators!

Darren Wrudd: With respect to Mr Grundy, I honestly had to look up UFC, not really on my radar.

But I started to think what else the F could stand for and how that would fit in, so here are a few possibles if the F stood for...

Flamenco - Bevan French all day long, footwork like that and he’d suit a frilly dress!

Fishing – that’s easy with master piscator Sam Powell on board.

Fireman – going back a little in time, Logan Tomkins newly qualified with hearty congratulations, I feel safer already.

Fringe – Come on Jackson, get your hair cut laad.

Floristry – there is just something I think about Partington would look lovely doing a nice bunch of Daffodils.

Ferreter - I am sure Hardaker must have a flat cap, if not Zak, drop me a line lad you can have one of mine.

Jon Lyon: I must be in a minority of one of people who have never seen a single UFC bout, but there’s a few in the Wigan squad

who could give a good account of themselves. For strength and toughness bothMorgan Smithies and Ollie Partington punch well above their weight but it’s hard to look past John Bateman.

He really doesn’t look especially big or strong but he tackles and grapples like a demon and brushes much bigger players aside with ease.

He has an inner aggression that would serve him well too.

Going back a couple of years I think the ultimate would be Micky McIlorum though, what a beast!