Wigan Warriors- The 18th man: 'The Toulouse game gives us a good chance to rebuild confidence'

The 18th man contributors reflect on the defeat to Wakefield Trinity and look ahead to the game against Toulouse Olympique.

Jon Lyon

The defeat to Wakefield seemed to be a case of who wanted the win more.

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Not to suggest Wigan didn’t put in the effort, but Trinity knew they would be all but safe from relegation if they won, and they played like their livelihoods depended on it.

Wigan Warriors take on Toulouse this evening

Once again Wigan’s tries came from moments of magic from French and Field.

We need to make sure we don’t become too reliant on these two and Marshall pulling us out of a hole.

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Cust and Smith have had very good seasons but haven’t been at their creative best the last couple of games.

We are still conceding soft tries from one on one missed tackles, which we can’t afford to do as we try and gain momentum towards the play offs.

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It’s very noticeable how much we miss Liam Farrell's attacking play, no other forward makes the breaks or runs the lines that he does.

While players like Isa, Smithies and, when fit, Bateman provide 100% commitment, work rate and defence, they don’t offer anywhere near as much going forward as Faz.

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The Toulouse game gives us a good chance to show some attacking flair and post some points to rebuild confidence, but at this stage we need to be performing consistently, not every other week.

Toulouse have lost Ashall-Bott and Corey Norman to bans and will be much weaker for it. Norman’s extensive ban for his John Hopoate impression should see the end of any slim chance Toulouse had to stay up.

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I would expect us to be fired up as always after a defeat, and after the usual tough opening exchanges we should be good enough to post a hefty score, giving us confidence ahead of the Saints game.

With the League Leaders shield gone, the games now are all about building combinations and form into the play-offs, and ideally keeping hold of second spot for a week off and home advantage.

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We can take heart that we still have Bateman, Leuluai and Powell to come back, and if it was down to me, I’d be resting French and/or Field for a week before the end of the regular season.

Robert Kenyon

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Wakefield have been a bit of a bogey team for us over the years, not long ago they nilled us and with their backs against the wall this season, they caught us not concentrating and wanted it more.

We have another game this week against another side looking likely to be relegated.

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We are playing against players who are playing to keep their jobs, so it's going to be a tough game.

We are six points behind Saints and the League Leaders shield is looking unlikely.

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I don't think our league position will change, so what I'm hoping to see are players having a rest before the play-offs because from now on, other than the Saints match, they are the only games that matter.

I'd like us to start again and build momentum going into the play-offs.

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Glynn Bradshaw

What a disappointing performance at the weekend.

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I know we had a few players out, but they looked more up for it than us, which is disappointing as they are fighting to stay in Super League, and we could have cemented second place with a victory.

We were woeful defensively, particularly in the first quarter, and were outplayed by their pack which enabled Miller and Lino to run the show.

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We looked a bit clueless in attack and when we had pressure in the second half we seemed content to try and barge over, with hardly the biggest pack in the world excluding Mago.

The performance was even more disappointing coming on the back of our last away debacle at Headingley.

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We have not played well for a few games now and need to refocus.

There was one from an interception too, they nearly got another one as well, teams seem to be reading this play lately.

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Hopefully a home game against Toulouse should be a game in which we are able to bounce back before the Saints match, although once again we can’t underestimate how desperate they will be for a victory, but we should have enough firepower to claim the two points.

Darren Wrudd

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I just don’t know what to make of this team sometimes.

I love them to bits but at times I could scream.

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Wakefield were ordinary, nothing special, in fact if you take out Miller they were not very inspiring at all.

They had a very simple game plan.

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Part one seemed to be to slow the game to a crawl, lay on in the ruck and play dead after every third tackle to disrupt any kind of momentum we could try to build.

Part two was just to be enthusiastic when on the ball.

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From early on in the game, the lethargic approach of one or two players was obvious.

Kai Pearce-Paul in fact if I am not mistaken only took the ball up twice in the whole of the first half.

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Now with Marshall running it in at every chance like a front rower, our forwards making a decent fist of it, we usually have Farrell chiming in often to cause havoc and he was sorely missed.

I just hope that Pearce-Paul has not already left the club in his mind's eye like Oliver Gildart did last year, which saw him steal a living for the year while waiting for his trip down under.

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Beyond that, our timing was just totally out of sync with passes hitting the floor or going behind and players totally out of position in the defensive line.

A couple of players turning their hips to the ball carrier left huge gaps for Wakefield to march through and they did not need a second invitation.

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I would hope that Farrell was back this week along with Bateman who seems to have recovered from his rib injury.

Let's hope he does not decide he wants to return to the NRL too as we need committed players here at the club, not journeymen.

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Actually not much requires fixing in our game at all, it is very fine margins indeed and losing to a side like Wakefield who are desperately fighting for survival shows how tight it can be.

But if you thought Wakefield were desperate, wait until you see the emotion on the faces of the Toulouse players and staff.

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They want to remain in Super League and many argue their case, but if you are not good enough, you simply cannot expect any special treatment.

So what to expect on Friday, well let's not forget that they have some talent in their squad and almost turned us over when we travelled to their home, so nothing is preordained.

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I am however hoping for a reaction to what was a very ordinary performance last time out by the Warriors.

Once more we must look to our own game and hope we can shine on our home turf.

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A week ago I had privately predicted that Wakefield would lose and Toulouse would remain in Super League on the back of their last few games, not sure now though, it has got very interesting at the bottom of the table.

Chris Riordan

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Today I read the Wigan Observer and the news about coach Lee Briers intending to take up a post in Australia with the Brisbane Broncos with a large degree of equanimity.

My initial reaction was “Good for him.”

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I hope most fans view his leaving this way. Am I glad to see him go? Not for a moment, I don’t know exactly how much of Wigan’s considerably improved play this season is because of Lee’s coaching.

People who know far more about these things than I (That’s about 99% of rugby league fans) claim they can detect his influence in both attack and defence (I hope there’s still room for Mr. Peet and Lockers) and if that’s true then our loss will be the Broncos gain.

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So very good luck Lee, no one would begrudge him fulfilling a lifelong ambition, especially with the probable extra salary, better weather, adventure of a new continent, lifestyle in which he’ll see and make new friends and have new experiences (any chance you need someone to carry your suitcases Lee?) and gain new insight into methods of training that the Aussies probably have.

Perhaps he’ll stay for good, perhaps not. Who knows? Anyway Lee, well done and thanks for what you’ve done at the DW.

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But, and it’s a big, big but Lee Briers’ future doesn’t really concern me too much. Bevan French’s does though. Very, very much.

I’ve seen it written that Wigan have such powerful structures and methods that it doesn’t really matter too much who plays, we’ll still go about the game in our usual way, whatever that is. What utter tosh.

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Without either (or heaven forbid) both of our Aussie speedsters we are not as dangerous. Liam Marshall’s great, enough said, but without French or Field?

First, I think Jai has decided to have a bit of a “quiet spell” before hopefully returning to smash defences and over-confident full backs. Who said “Welsby”? It wasn’t me, was it?

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Just watch French in momentous motion. An absolute athlete. For me he even out-glides the incomparable Martin offiah. I never saw Brian Bevan play, was he similar?

Players of French’s quality aren’t coached, they’re born. We get to see them very, very, very rarely. Somehow we have one and nine tenths of one at Wigan.

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We’ve been told it will very soon be time to tell us about Bevan’s plans for next year.

Please try very hard to keep hold of Bevan and Jai Mr. Radlinski and Mr. Lenagan.