Warrington 16 Wigan 10

Liam Marshall goes over for Warriors' first try
Liam Marshall goes over for Warriors' first try

Shaun Wane said travel would not be an excuse for a poor performance but for an hour of this game, his players looked like they had just got off a plane.

Sam Tomkins had warmed that Warrington would be 'rubbing their hands together' at the prospect of facing travel-wearing opposition, and he was right.

"I think the jet-lag played a part in it, but we'll take the win," said Wolves captain Chris Hill.

This wasn't as close as the scoreline suggested.

Warrington - sparked by Stefan Ratchford - started with more vigour, dominated the forwards battle and were ultimately the deserved winners.

They took an 8-0 lead into half-time, and may have been disappointed they didn't have the result sewn up given the territory and possession they enjoyed. Wigan scrambled desperately to limit the damage but they were too often their own worst enemy, gifting their opponents the ball and easy metres.

On the rare occasions they got into solid positions, the attacks stuttered with mis-timed passes or mistakes. Warrington had doubled their lead by the final quarter when Wigan eventually woke from their slumber.

Liam Marshall's try in the 62nd minute gave them a glimmer of hope and they never gave up the fight from them on, with Tony Clubb crossing for a final-minute consolation.

But they had simply given themselves too much to do.

There were no surprises in the line-ups, with John Bateman replacing Dan Sarginson at centre, while Warrington welcomed back marquee halfback Tyrone Roberts.

New Wolves coach Steve Price watched his side get their first win last weekend, at the third time of asking, while the visitors went into this with two straight Super League wins.

If those results would make Wigan the favourites, their disrupted preparation - having only arrived back from Australia four days earlier - acted as something of a leveller.

Bryson Goodwin booted the hosts into a second-minute lead after Clubb was penalised for an off-the-ball challenge on Roberts, and Wire soon pressed their authority.

Mitch Brown found space on the outside of Marshall - given the nod ahead of Joe Burgess - and, while he was stopped short of the line, they swung the ball to their left edge for Tom Lineham to stroll in beyond a stranded Tom Davies. Goodwin's conversion made it 8-0.

And that's how it stood until half-time, as Wire somehow failed to extend their lead.

Wigan appeared rattled - they didn't even make it out of their own 10m in one set.

Ben Currie, who had a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury book-ended with games against Wigan, left action in the opening quarter.

Shaun Wane's side were getting agitated, as evident by George Williams' running battle with Ben Murdoch-Masila.

On the half-hour mark Wigan turned it on, just for a spell, and showed what a threat they can pose. But that set ended with another mistake - this time Williams' dropping the ball, which was quickly compounded by a penalty... a familiar tone for the strong travelling support.

Wire continued to carve out chances, and it needed the alert Morgan Escare to drag down a breakaway Kevin Brown, before Ryan Atkins fumbled close to the line just before the break.

No sooner had play restarted on a biting cold night they suffered anther scare, Roberts' arcing run setting up the position for Atkins to touch down, only for the video referee to rule a try out for a knock-on by Murdoch-Masila in the build-up.

Still, they kept pressing. Former Souths centre Goodwin charged down field before nudging them into a 10-point lead when Sam Tomkins was penalised for a high tackle on fellow St Pat's product, Ratchford.

With Wire having so many near-misses, it seemed inevitable they would eventually force a significant breakthrough. And when Bateman was penalised while in possession, inside his own half - a sin by any coach's measure - it presented them their opportunity.

Kevin Brown's angled kick was palmed back by his namesake, Mitch, and Atkins was on hand to scoop up the ball and cross. Goodwin's conversion wedged a 16-point gap between the sides as they entered the final quarter.

The Warriors were at least saved the indignity of being nilled, when Thomas Leuluai's half-break led to Marshall diving over for his ninth try in five matches against the Primrose and Blue. Sam Tomkins couldn't tag on the extras and, with 12 points splitting the sides, a comeback appeared unlikely.

Davies crossed but was hauled back by Thaler, and then Marshall couldn't collect an awkward pass on the other edge. Simmering tensions threatened to boil-over before Clubb crossed for a consolation.

Warrington: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, M Brown; K Brown, Roberts; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Westwood. Subs: Murdoch-Masila, Crosby, Akauola, Patton.

Wigan: S Tomkins; Davies, Bateman, Gildart, Marshall; Williams, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, J Tomkins, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Subs: Escare, Sutton, Isa, Tautai.

Referee: Ben Thaler

Half-time: 8-0

Attendance: 12,012