SHAUN Wane hailed Widnes’ performance after the Vikings gave his side an uncomfortable night at the DW Stadium.
Holding the Warriors level at 10-10 for most of the second half, Denis Betts’ Vikings looked to be on course to deny Wigan a chance to sneak into the top two before the Super 8s split after next week’s games.
We did enough to grind a win and we weren’t doing that at the start of the yearShaun Wane
But late tries from Ryan Hampshire and Anthony Gelling sealed an ugly win - and Wane was relieved his side saw it through.
“I thought they (Widnes) played really, really well,” said Wane.
“I’ve watched all their games this year and there have been some really good performances.
“They have gone under the radar quite a bit and I was really impressed with how they played.”
Despite struggling to post a big score last night, like Wigan are used to doing against Widnes,
he thinks the Vikings gave their best performance of the season - and wasn’t surprised by what they brought the the DW.
“It was a win,” he said matter frankly
“I thought we showed some toughness in the last quarter but that’s probably the best performance Widnes have put together which we knew they would.
“Credit to Widnes I thought they were very, very good. What they threw at us and how they defended.
“We did enough to grind a win and we weren’t doing that at the start of the year. We went there and drew it which was sort of a loss to me.
“We are finding ways to win those games when we’re not killing it how we’re playing.”
Wane pointed to promising displays from young full-back Ryan Hampshire and Josh Charnley, chosen for the second week in a row ahead of Dom Manfredi.
After choosing to rest No.1 Matty Bowen - Wane praised the rising star, who had a hand in Charnley’s opening try as well as scoring his own in the final 10 minutes.
“I thought he gave us some energy,” said the coach.
“I’m a big Matty Bowen fan but I’m also a big Ryan Hampshire fan. He did some good things.
“He’s got pace which is the main thing and he didn’t get much chance to show it off today for various reasons but he’s a good player.”
Charnley managed to deny Widnes winger Patrick Ah Van a try when the scores were locked at 10-10, and Wane had praise for the England star - not just for his attack which continued his run of scoring at home against Widnes to five games.
“We spoke all week about defence and making correct decisions on an edge because he’s the most isolated player on the field,” he explained.
“I thought he played well - he did some really good things.We’re blessed we have three great wingers at this club.”
Wane reported no fresh injury concerns after the game and confirmed Dan Sarginson and Matty Bowen are both available for selection for next Thursday’s trip to Hull FC.