Wigan Warriors- Talking Rugby: Salford will push Matty Peet's side all the way and mistakes will be punished
It was a game of two halves for Wigan Warriors last week against Castleford Tigers.
They struggled in the opening 40 minutes, with errors making things harder than it needed to be.
Then, after the break, they looked energised and executed superbly.
Matty Peet will certainly be hoping his side produces more of the same from that second half in this week’s game against Salford.
The Red Devils head into this match on the back of a heavy defeat against Hull KR, but that doesn’t mean they should be underestimated.
They pushed Wigan all the way in the last meeting between the two, with a heroic late try from Jai Field needed to separate the two.
The Warriors have had some disappointing periods in their last few Super League games, and will need to avoid that against Paul Rowley’s side, otherwise they will be punished.
There was some more disappointing news for Iain Thornley this week, as he was forced off early on in the game against Castleford with a knee injury.
Peet has since confirmed the centre will now miss the next six weeks of action, in what is another blow for him.
Luck hasn’t been on Thornley’s side following his return to Wigan in the off-season, with a number of different injuries restricting his game time.
The first came in the early stages of the opening game of the campaign against Hull KR, which has unfortunately set the tone.
There were some harsh comments on social media after the news came out, with some fans saying the club should never have signed him.
It’s a ridiculous statement to make, as no one could’ve predicted how unfortunate he would be with injuries, and nor should he be punished for that.
The problems he’s had this year is down to bad luck; not a lack of fitness or desire.
In the games he has featured in this year, Thornley has shown his worth and been an important player.
Hopefully he has a straightforward recovery and he can return for a strong end to the campaign.
As well as Wigan being in action last weekend, there was also plenty of other rugby available to watch throughout the bank holiday.
All of the Championship teams were in action twice, which proved to be a fantastic way to avoid the Jubilee celebrations, if you’re that way inclined.
Last Thursday, Widnes Vikings welcomed Bradford Bulls to the DCBL Stadium.
Of course, if you look back through history, you will see periods where one of these sides were at the top of the sport.
Widnes enjoyed successes during the 70s and 80s, winning Challenge Cups and Championships, with a number of great players on their books during that time.
Meanwhile Bradford were one of the dominant sides in Super League at the start of the century, and picked up three World Club Challenges.
It’s a shame to see where both clubs are now, but there is clearly still a hunger for rugby league in both places, with a solid number of supporters still behind them.
It goes to show no matter how big a club is, mismanagement can still be costly.
Apart from their direct rivals, most fans in Super League fans would probably welcome the return of a strong Windes or Bradford team, if either club were ever in that position.
The game between the two sides ended with the travelling Bulls producing a 31-6 victory, with former Wigan man Samy Kibula being one of the standout players, alongside Dec Patton.
They couldn’t follow this up with another win on Monday night against Featherstone, as they were beaten 58-12, with the weekend sort of summing up their consistency this season.
As for the Vikings, there were a few groans and boos from their fans at full time at the DCBL Stadium, with the feeling no doubt worse after their 44-4 defeat away to Barrow Raiders on Sunday.
Former Warriors assistant coach John Kear has since been appointed as the new man at the helm, and will no doubt hope to implement a quick change of fortunes.
From an off-field perspective, Widnes, and probably a few other teams, may have missed out on an opportunity to get a few more fans through the door.
The adult price for entry was £22, while it was £17 for concessions.
Surely on a bank holiday it would’ve made more sense to reduce ticket prices, especially when you could see a T20 double header at Lancashire for £12.
Rugby league in general could do a bit more in certain instances to make the game more accessible, and getting more people into lower league games could be a good start.
Over in Australia, it was sad to see the news that former Wigan head coach Michael Maguire had been sacked by Wests Tigers.
Of course, with pressure already on him from performances last year, three wins in 12 games was always going to lead to this outcome.
No doubt we will see Maguire again soon, with his time with the Warriors showing, he’s a hugely talented coach.
Also in the Southern hemisphere this week, it was the start of State of Origin.
The games between New South Wales and Queensland are truly some of the best occasions in the sport.
Wednesday’s meeting certainly lived up to expectation, as it was a thrilling clash, with the Maroons coming away 16-10 winners.
Valentine Holmes and Cameron Munster in particular produced impressive displays.
It’s scary just how deep Australia's talent pool is ahead of this year’s world cup.