Wigan 32 Widnes 16: Five things we learned
Five things we learned from Wigan's 32-16 win against Widnes.
1. It was the first time in nearly six months Wigan had played at their DW Stadium home - and their first victory at the ground since mid-August.
The 32-16 scoreline makes it look like a comfortable win but it didn’t feel like that. It was a nervy hour for Wigan until they finally took the lead through Liam Farrell’s try.
Even then, with only a four-point buffer, they couldn’t relax until Sam Tomkins collected a speculative chip, turned on the after-burners and raced away for the type of try he used to score regularly. The impressive Tom Davies added the gloss late on.
2. It wasn’t quite the classic game of two halves, because their improvement began before the interval.
Trailing 16-0, Wigan improved and pressured the Widnes line with repeated raids, but passes weren’t crisp enough, their kicking game was predictable, and their opponents scrambled well.
Indeed, the Vikings didn’t cave until just before half-time, when Joe Burgess dived over in the corner, but Wigan’s weight of possession - and strong carries down the middle - wore them down and, in Denis Betts’ words, they “ran out of gas”.
3. Asked if any player in particular impressed him, Shaun Wane said ‘Thomas Leuluai’... but then proceeded to reel off half the team!
Joel Tomkins, Sam Tomkins, Liam Farrell, Tony Clubb, both wingers... well, while he’s willing to share the man of the match prize out, it should be extended to the thousands of fans who sat in the biting cold for nearly two hours!
An attendance of 10,815 was declared but that figure presumably included the season-ticket holders who decided to stay home and keep warm.
Roll on summer!
4. The win moved Wigan to second in the embryonic Super League table... but don’t get too excited.
Two of the six games were called off because of the weather - fixtures which will need to be crammed into the tight schedule before the split for the Super-8s in July - and two more were rearranged for today (Sunday).
Still, three wins from four is not a bad return for the Warriors, who face Wakefield at the DW Stadium next Sunday.
5. Widnes can play an attractive style and with Wiganers Joe Mellor and Sam Wilde making their mark, they were good value for their lead.
Their best player, Krisnan Inu, was missing through illness - a shame, as his duel with Oliver Gildart would have been interesting - and they also have veteran Aussie forward Chris Houston to return. Good enough to avoid the bottom-four? Yes. Maybe.