Wigan powered into Super League’s top-three with a 42-22 win against Catalans - but it appeared to come at a price.
Thomas Leuluai left the action early in the second-half clutching his jaw. He was being assessed after the game when assistant coach John Winder took the press conference.
“He’s just with the doctor at the moment,” said Winder. “We’ve not got anything crystal on that but obviously losing Tommy, he’s an influential player for us.”
Leuluai broke his jaw playing for New Zealand last autumn and he cut a disconsolate figure as he walked off.
Without him, Wigan managed to overcome a nervous spell when they trailed 22-20 to power away with four unanswered tries.
Centre Liam Forsyth and winger Tom Davies each crossed for two tries.
We’ve not got anything crystal on that but obviously losing Tommy, he’s an influential player for usJohn Winder
Joe Burgess also bagged a double, with Liam Marshall and Liam Farrell wrapping up the scoring late on - all five tryscorers are homegrown players.
“That’s really pleasing, and we pride ourselves on the players coming through,” said Winder, who took the media duties in place of Shaun Wane.
Winder was particularly pleased with the performances of Forsyth and Davies on the right-edge, with both enjoying arguably their best performances since breaking into the side this year.
Wigan let a 16-0 lead slip as Catalans locked the scores by half-time. But they finished strong to claim their third straight win, which propelled them ahead of Salford into third spot ahead of Saturday’s trip to Castleford.
Winder said: “I just thought in the first half we were a little bit slack with the ball.
“I think our completion rate was around about 50 per cent at half time so we just turned over too much cheap ball, and they’re too good of a side to do that to.
“At half-time, going in at 16-16, we were disappointed. But in the second half we controlled the ball a lot better and probably simplified it a little bit and played a little bit more direct.
“It was pleasing to see the energy and endeavour in the last 20-minutes and we managed to get over the line.”
Wayne Bennett will tomorrow name his England squad to take on Samoa in Sydney next month. He is limiting his selections to a cap of three per club - Sean O’Loughlin, George Williams, Liam Farrell and Joe Burgess are the leading contenders for places from Wigan.