Wigan Warriors- The 18th man: Matty Peet has won over the hearts and minds of fans with his honest and humble manner
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I would say the first positive is our attack and entertainment value we are providing, it is a joy to watch, which is pretty self- explanatory after last season.
The second positive is our team spirit and togetherness which again seems so much better than last year under Adrian Lam.
Finally, the third positive has to be Matty Peet, who has not only won over the hearts and minds of Wigan Warriors fans with his honest and humble manner, but also a fair few opposition fans.
For things to improve on, firstly I’d say our defence, even after the nilling of Hull.
Secondly, our on the left edge can let us down at times. Jake Bibby in particular is prone to racing out of the line leaving his winger exposed.
Thirdly, our pack sometimes don’t make enough yardage meaning we are giving the opposition the ball back in good field position, for example, the Magic Weekend game against Saints.
The first positive, and as fans the thing we all wanted to see, is the attacking rugby we’re playing week in week out.
For many reasons, mostly injury related, we struggled making any inroads into the opponent's twenty last year.
The availability of our three speedsters French, Field and Marshall has made a huge difference and we’re now a threat from anywhere on the pitch, even behind our own try line.
Some of the tries these three have scored have defied belief.
The second positive is Harry Smith's continued development as a top class scrum half, and recently a seemingly world class goal kicker.
Overplayed through necessity at times last year, Harry was struggling towards the end of the season, not helped with us having so many backs missing.
He has been the driving force for our attack this season, and his short kicking game has been outstanding.
There seems little doubt the arrival of Lee Briers has had a big impact on Harry’s development.
Finally our pack deserves huge credit. We have seen much more go forward this year, an increase in line breaks and offloads and the backs are reaping the rewards.
Our defence has also tightened up considerably, no doubt the young forwards are eagerly learning from Lockers on the training pitch.
It seems slightly picky to find faults when the improvement has been so dramatic from last season.
There has been the odd game where our handling has let us down at times, the Magic Weekend display being one of them.
I suppose if we’re asking the team to play faster and throw the ball about more then this will inevitably happen but maybe we need to not make the offload every time and play safety first on occasion in our own half in the tighter games.
Discipline is still costing us in matches. It’s hard to know if that’s down to our players or the changing interpretations of the rules week by week depending on the referee.
Some high shots are ignored, some are a yellow and the same thing a red with a different official, and the difference in bans and appeals between some players (and clubs) seems laughable at times.
The only other thing I’m not happy about is I’ve still never won the players shirt in the half time draw.
Every home game for 23 years, surely it’s my turn, come on Wigan, sort it out! (But maybe wait until Tommy is back in the team…)
Three things positive and possible improvements, I suppose I shall begin with the latter so I can finish on a high.
If I were to encourage improvements at the club, there would be very little on the field that I could point out after recent games.
Perhaps the odd overzealous run out from the line has cost us a try or two, but the squad is playing some great rugby at the moment so not much to improve there.
With the club itself there could be some improvements of course, some are out of our hands like the ridiculous fixture list through the summer period, but some could potentially be improved somewhat, communication perhaps is one area.
I feel sometimes that events and gatherings are advertised with too much reliance on social media.
Now I like a Tweet as much as the next guy (@dwrudd) but many people just don’t do any social media at all.
Perhaps a section on the website updated frequently showing upcoming events, gatherings or chances to meet the players might be a start.
Another possible improvement would be a quiet word in the ear of the players themselves. After each game, it is great to see them walk around the ground waving to the fans, but a large section is totally ignored.
The Northern half of the East stand is never paid any attention beyond the odd player coming over to see his family.
It would be nice to be able to at least thank the lads properly if they could spend an extra 30 seconds or so at the beginning of their lap.
Start at the tunnel and end at the tunnel, that’s a lap.
My biggest gripe though has to be the sound system. I come home from the game with my head and ears ringing from the sheer unpleasant volume that we are subjected to.
It seems they wish to create an atmosphere but they are just ruining it as you cannot chat before the game or at half time, the announcements are so loud that I often feel I need earplugs in to stop any permanent damage to my hearing.
So perhaps turn it down a bit eh, we can still hear it without making it a trial.
Okay so that’s the moan over, for now anyway.
Asked to comment on three positives, I could simply suggest French, Field and Cust, but that would not be entirely true.
For the team to perform so well and our stars to perform so magically on the night, many more things need to happen first.
Discipline is a huge one for me and we have shown that if we stop giving free field position by silly penalties, we can control things so much better.
This has seen a huge improvement recently and the results are testament to the hard work and technique we are paying so much attention to.
Secondly is our kicking game, both tactically and spot kicks. Harry Smith is like a new signing this year.
He has been given the task to step up and be the half back that a Wigan team deserves and the lad has obviously worked so hard on his technique and his understanding of the game that it shines out in his play.
He deserves such plaudits for his efforts and I hope come the end of season bash, he is duly recognised.
Finally I suppose a real positive I like to see each game is the great spirit we have in the camp. The squad seem to want to play alongside one another, back each other up and celebrate the defence as much as the sparkling attack.
All in all it’s a great time to be a Wigan Warriors player, but an even better time to be a fan.