Shaun Wane praised his players for “toughing out” a 23-20 victory at Salford last night.
Josh Charnley’s hat-trick provided the gloss to a gritted win which saw Wigan lose Greg Burke to a concussion in the first-half.
The victory - in Ben Flower’s 100th game for the club - was their third in succession and kept them within touching distance of the top.
But a major talking point was a player who didn’t figure.
John Bateman was left out of the side, just days after Wigan launched an investigation into claims of a scrap between two players outside a town centre gym.
Wane said he was “not available for selection” and, asked whether Bateman may return next week - to face Hull KR away - Wane said: “It’s a day-to-day thing.”
He didn’t elaborate, but his absence will inevitably be linked with last week’s off-field drama.
It certainly didn’t prove to be a distraction for the team, as Charnley’s two second-half tries - adding to his eighth-minute opener - put Wigan 23-10 ahead.
Late tries by Josh Jones and Daniel Vidot gave the match a nervy finish, but Wigan were good value for the two points.
Wane said: “To grind out a tough win like that - I’m very happy. It was a tense finish but I’m not going to let that cloud it - I’m just going to enjoy the victory.
“I though we showed some real good toughness. I don’t know what the penalty count was but we did a lot of defending in that game - a lot of defending.
“To get that win, having lost a middle (Burke), already down on numbers, was a good effort.
“I’m going to enjoy this victory. It was well-earned because Salford are playing very, very well - they will trouble teams. They are well coached and a real team now and this is a tough place to come.”
He admitted he had “a small tear in my eye” at the sight of the three Tomkins brothers - playing their first competitive match together - posing for photographs with their children after the game.
“It was nice - Logan’s one of us, he’s a great kid,” he added.
Salford coach Ian Watson had no complaints over the result, crediting Wigan’s Matty Smith for his superior game-management.