Wigan Warriors- The 18th man: 'The Magic Weekend showed me we are a match for this so-called all conquering Saints squad'

The 18th man contributors reflect on the defeat to St Helens and look ahead to Friday’s game against Hull FC.

Darren Wrudd

Magic weekend was, in spite of the result, a great success in my eyes.

It showed me that we are a match for this so-called all conquering Saints squad, who seem only to win against us if we get hammered by the referee.

Wigan Warriors take on Hull FC at the DW Stadium this weekWigan Warriors take on Hull FC at the DW Stadium this week
Wigan Warriors take on Hull FC at the DW Stadium this week
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I like Liam Moore, I think he is one of our best officials but it does seem that being based in the area, he seems to want to dispel any thoughts of bias by going hard against the Warriors.

The Singleton red card was not even going to be a penalty until Sironen decided to sit on the floor and play injured for a while, long enough it seems to let the video ref scrutinise everything in super slow motion, which makes everything look worse.

The guy was falling into a tackle and got clobbered.

A similar, if worse, one the following day had a penalty and that’s it, but let's add a card and a three-game ban just because he was wearing a Wigan shirt.

A poor decision which cost us the game.

But as I say, it was a success. We ran harder, defended better and showed how to unlock their defence with some fantastic rugby.

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Saints have beaten us a couple of times and taken two points, but we beat them when a trophy was at stake, so how do you like those odds?

The Hull FC game was an eye opener too. The Yorkshire outfits played a really good game.

The ascendency switched throughout the 80 minutes, but FC were good value for the win and we will need to keep a close watch on players like Ellis Longstaff and Luke Gale if we want to continue our good home form.

For the most part, I think we will be too fast for them and whilst they may keep up for a while we can run them out of gas and turn up the pressure I feel sure.

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No doubt Oliver Partington will get his chance in the absence of Singleton, which is not a bad swap, but we cannot afford any more bans going towards this end of the year.

Our play needs to be controlled and disciplined so as not to give any excuse for a whistle happy referee to dip his bread.

Really looking forward to this game and I hope we get a big crowd, the weather looks set fine so it should be a great night out.

Stephen Ford

It was a disappointing result on Saturday, particularly after soaking up a considerable amount of pressure in the first 20 minutes or so, and struggling to gain any advantage from our own half.

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To let a 10 point lead slip and to lose the game in the final minute against the old enemy was very deflating on the day.

I didn’t see the game until Sunday as I couldn’t watch the game live on Saturday and had to rely on updates from a WhatsApp group.

To be fair I think that over the 80 minutes Saints were the better team but we scored three great tries.

I thought that two of Saints' tries were questionable and was surprised in particular that the Welsby try wasn’t reviewed for a knock on by LMS.

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Saints’ defence is the best I’ve seen from a British team, so to score three tries was really pleasing.

Singleton’s dismissal didn’t help us much but our inability to make good metres from our own half, poor defensive decisions near our line (Smith, Bibby, Isa and Marshall being quite regular contributors) and too many unforced errors were, for me, the primary reasons that we lost.

On reflection I think that we may learn more from our defeat when we come to meet them again in the playoffs as is quite likely if the current league positions are maintained.

We have a difficult set of fixtures coming up in the next few weeks starting with Hull on Friday.

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If I was forecasting the Hull game before Sunday I would have been very confident of a positive result as they’ve been in poor form and we have been playing some really exciting rugby.

Sunday’s win by Hull will have put a spring in their step and they will be confident of beating us again as they did just prior to the Challenge Cup final.

Barring any major injuries, a warm dry evening on a near perfect pitch should enable us to play our open game and avoid a forward battle down the middle as much as possible, which hopefully results in a high scoring game with Wigan edging it by 12 points or so.

I always enjoy playing against Hull and I hope that a good few away fans make the effort to travel, which will make for a great atmosphere.

Glynn Bradshaw

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A defeat against Saints always hurts, but this one will take some getting over.

We know we could and should have won this game.

I know we were missing players but the key players they were missing in Makinson and Walmsley, allied to the fact that they had no goalkicker, meant they were there for the taking.

I can’t wait for this week’s game to get back on the horse and hopefully get back to winning ways.

The last time we played Hull, Lovodua had a great game, so he is one to keep an eye, but hopefully we can clinch a victory.

Jon Lyon

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It has taken a few days to calm down after Saturday’s defeat.

Losing to Saints is always tough to take, but the manner of defeat in Newcastle was especially hard.

It was a strange game overall as, in truth, we didn’t play particularly well, especially with ball in hand.

I can’t recall the last time we made so many handling errors.

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Fortunately through some tough defensive work and a few sublime moments of magic in attack we found ourselves leading late on, only to have victory snatched away in such a cruel fashion.

While we only have ourselves to blame for handing Saints attacking position time and again, there’s no getting away from the fact that without Singleton’s dismissal we would most likely have hung on to win the game.

Personally I feel it was a yellow card at worst, and the three match ban is laughable.

We have seen Dylan Napa recently deliberately attack the head of an opponent and follow that up with a high shot once the player was on the floor, and he received a yellow card.

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The problem is the inconsistency in which the rules are being applied. Too much is left open to interpretation.

I don’t see what Brad was supposed to do when Curtis Sironen fell at the very last second. It is impossible to change your body shape in the blink of an eye at full speed, and if Sironen doesn’t fall then there is no contact near the head.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow but ultimately whilst it was tough to watch, on reflection it is hard to say we played well enough over the eighty minutes to deserve the win,, but it would be nice to get the rub of the green against them for once.

Looking ahead to Friday it is hard to know what to expect from Hull, as they have been inconsistent all year.

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They will be on a high after a good win over their local rivals in Newcastle, but that game will have taken a lot out of them, and will have been more of a priority for them, I would imagine, than this game.

They had also lost every game before that since beating us just prior to the cup final, including an annihilation by a previously inconsistent Leeds and defeats by lowly Wakefield and Warrington.

I can see us being fired up for this game after Saturday’s defeat and expect us to have far more desire than Hull.

John Bateman’s injury is a big blow, but hopefully Kai Pearce-Paul is fit, or Isa or Partington will move into the second row to cover.

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I would like to see Sam Halsall given a chance at centre as he has been on fire at Newcastle Thunder and deserves a shot at staking a claim for a place with Bibby leaving and Thornley injured.

Cust should improve as he continues his comeback from injury, and with Field and French combining, as they seem to week in week out now, we should be able to post enough points.

As long as our forwards can contain Hull’s big pack I am expecting us to run away with the game in the second half for a comfortable win, I’ll go for 32-14.

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