Five things we learned from Wigan’s 13-12 win against Warrington...
1. Josh Woods is one cool customer.
When Josh Charnley – playing in his first game back at the DW as a Wolves player – had powered over in the corner to lock the scores with four minutes to go, it looked as if the visitors may just snatch it.
But Stefan Ratchford’s sideline conversion was wide – goal-kicking proved crucial – and Wigan marched up field for Woods to hit the decisive one-pointer.
To make his effort even more impressive, he wasn’t supposed to get the pass - they had set-up for Sam Tomkins to take the strike!
2. There was something quite fitting about a young Wigan player having the crucial say.
Because with a clutch of senior players missing - and Liam Farrell going off early with a shoulder injury - it was a game when they really caught the eye.
‘The Hammer’ Gabe Hamlin, still only 21, was immense, Woods and Callum Field had big contributions, and Cumbrian back-rower Liam Paisley marked his first appearance at the DW with his debut try.
3. Paisley hadn’t even started primary school when Ben Westwood made his Super League debut.
The Wolves war-horse was figuring in his 500th career match, a remarkable milestone – and it was nice to see Wigan’s players and fans join in with the applause at the end as he left through a guard of honour.
4. This was a bruising, brutal match.
What it lacked in scorching tries and breaks, it more than compensated for with thunderous collisions, gutsy efforts across the pitch and a tight scoreline.
Warrington actually out-scored Wigan three tries to two, but couldn’t convert any of their goals – their lack of a recognised goal-kicker recently cost them against Castleford, too.
5. It was an impressive win for Wigan, and it was important, too.
Because it saw them tighten their grip on second-spot, opening up a four-point gap on Warrington, who are third.
There are three games to go before the Super-8s split.
Wigan, as a top-four side, are guaranteed to get four home matches in the next phase of the season (a relief to season-ticket holders, given an early-season ‘home’ game was staged in Australia).
If the Warriors remain second when the season splits, they will host matches against sides who are 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th - with away games against the sides in 1st, 5th and 8th.
Shaun Wane’s outfit are next in action on Thursday at Huddersfield. A reminder: the game is not being televised - it has been brought forward to accommodate a Little Mix concert!