Widnes v Warriors Talking Points
Five talking points from Wigan's win at Widnes on Friday.
1. After leading 14-12 at the break against Castleford the previous week, Wigan called on their comeback capabilities once again in the 32-24 win over Widnes on Friday.
Oliver Gildart put the Warriors into a 4-0 lead only for them to see that flipped to 18-4 down at the break, but for the third away game in a row they bounced back to win (they were down at the break against St Helens on Good Friday too, but lost 21-18).
Leeds, 8-0, and Catalans, 15-0, had seen half-time advantages snatched away from them in the two previous away games, and stats guru Bilko has pointed out that this was the sixth time this season Wigan took a score of 4 or less into the sheds at the break, but on the flip side no side has scored more than one second-half try against Wigan all season.
It was the seventh occasion Warriors have overturned a half-time deficit and their first half points difference is -9 compared to a second-half of +180.
2. Warriors don’t fare well on the injury front at Widnes’ Select Security Stadium.
Joe Burgess was helped from the field with a knee injury in the second half, and Warriors boss Shaun Wane admitted the early outlook didn’t look good for the in-form winger who had scored a try earlier in the match.
Jake Shorrocks last season, and Nick Gregson the year before, have also sustained similar injuries at the Select Security Stadium, and Sam Tomkins, Liam Farrell and Ben Flower all missed out to protect old injuries on the Vikings’ 4G i-pitch.
Laid in 2012, the artificial pitch is set to be ripped up at the end of the year to be updated with a new artificial surface ahead of next season.
3. Games between Widnes and Wigan tend to follow a familiar pattern at the Select Security Stadium.
They are usually close, Wigan won 28-26 last season and 7-0 in June 2016. And the sides drew 22-22 on the opening day of the 2015 season. A 33-32 win for Wigan in 2013 and 37-36 for the Vikings in 2012 reflect the see-saw nature these games tend to take, like last Friday’s did.
4. Warriors took everything down the left on Friday and it worked.
That potent left edge of Wigan’s has been running at full speed this season and Oliver Gildart’s opener came from that side in the 11th minute. Burgess’ try was on the back of a well-rehearsed move and even forwards Willie Isa, Ryan Sutton and Taulima Tautai’s tries were grounded on the left-hand side of the posts. Injury-hit Widnes’ squad numbers defending that side might illustrate why Warriors attacked that side, with Ryan Ince (22), on-loan Jimmy Keinhorst (38) and Ed Chamberlain (24), but Ince impressed with two tries.
5. Glancing at the table shows how quickly this season is going.
Wigan’s game in hand on pace-setters St Helens could see the Warriors reel them in if they beat Castleford in June (assuming both go unbeaten until then), and with most having 10 games to go until the Super 8s start (Wigan have 11) it’s already possible to work out how much they have to do to make the 8s.
Widnes, in ninth and on six points, have 11 games and 22 points available to them, and with Wigan already on 20, that means four more wins will put Wigan in the race for the play-offs later in the season. Warriors are already only three points behind their 23 total after 23 games last term, giving cause for optimism they can put last year’s disappointing finish behind them.