Five things we learned from Wigan’s super 32-10 win at Catalans on Saturday...
1. Wigan are still well in the hunt for an all-important top-four finish.
Yes they were written off by all and sundry weeks ago, but this win took them to within four points of fourth spot – and plenty of games to go. With the amount of matches between the top eight still to come, a semi-final spot, and a shot at a fifth-straight Grand Final, is still well within reach.
2. Shaun Wane has a more than capable understudy in John Winder.
With the Warriors coach left at home to recuperate after hip surgery, Winder was in charge for the trip to Perpignan. And he ensured Wigan’s recent upturn in fortunes continued with the minimum of fuss.
“We’ve got a brilliant assistant here in John Winder,” said Sam Tomkins. “He spoke to us at half-time with real composure and told us everything we needed to do.”
3. Joe Burgess is bang in form - at just the right time for club, and potentially country.
His hat-trick against the Dragons made it five tries in the last two matches since being restored to his favoured left-wing berth, and his interplay with centre Oliver Gildart – particularly for his second try – may have given national coach Wayne Bennett food for thought ahead of the World Cup.
4. Wigan have found a goalkicker – and he was here all along!
George Williams was booting them over like Frano Botica in his prime, missing only one of his seven kicks, and most of them coming from the touchline.
He has been in great form since the draw at Warrington and, hopefully, that will give him the confidence to grow into the role, in readiness for more high-profile games to come.
5. Special mention has to be made for the Wigan fans – believed to number between 1,500 and 2,000 – who made the trip over the south of France to support their team.
There was only one set of fans that could be heard both inside the stadium and on the TV pictures at home, and the players did the sea of cherry and white justice with a well-deserved two points. The bar-owners of Perpignan will certainly have appreciated their custom as well...