Shaun Wane insists his Warriors ‘won’t get carried away’ after snatching victory over Challenge Cup winners Hull FC at the death last night.
Taulima Tautai barged over the line with three minutes to go to score his first try of the season, and keep Wigan’s hopes of finishing top, however slim, alive as Wigan fought back to win 18-12 at the KC Stadium.
But Wane still found cause to criticise aspects of his team’s performance, in a game which his side trailed for the most part.
“I thought effort, 10 out of 10 - smartness two,” said the coach.
“We just didn’t give ourselves a chance to get a foothold in that first half.
“They got out of their end so easy and when you lose field position, when you get the ball back you don’t have the field position to get your attack going so it had a massive knock-on effect - we made it easy for them.”
It took a contentious second-half try from Sam Powell and Tuatai’s winner to get Wigan over the line, coupled with a defensive display which saw Hull remain scoreless in the second half, and Wane was pleased with the character his side showed.
“I thought we troubled them and put some good plays on - they defend good,” he explained.
“That’s a Wembley team we played today and I understand there might be a bit of a hangover, I know what it’s like coming back from Wembley and it’s very hard. We won’t get carried away.
“But we showed a lot of character and at the back end of the game we could feel them creaking a bit.
“If we can get into a real arm wrestle with any team , I’ll back us.”
One stand-out moment from the match was George Williams’ opening try after some vintage off-the-cuff rugby.
And Williams didn’t just impress by scoring the try - as the 21-year-old caught the eye with his contribution throughout.
“George Williams looks like a proper rugby player. He’s got cuts a bruises everywhere and he’s got teeth missing,” joked Wane,
“But when you win, those little bumps and bruises disappear.”
Wane was also pleased to see Tautai earn his reward by getting over the line for the first time this season.
Signed from Wakefield for the start of last season, the coach is pleased with how Tautai has progressed under his leadership.
“I thought he’s earned it,” said Wane.
“I think Taulima’s been one of our most improved players. He’s gripped it and been really really good.”
Wane joked: “There’ll be no naked run for him at the end of the year now.”
Warriors face Warrington next Friday needing a win to keep their slim hopes of lifting the League Leaders’ Shield alive, though the Wolves face Hull FC the following week, meaning if Wigan win next week they will need those sides to draw.
And Wane isn’t expecting any of his absentees to be fit for the trip to the HJ Stadium, though he thinks captain Sean O’Loughlin has a chance of returning to face Catalans at the DW Stadium on September 23.