Wigan 30 Wakefield 18: Five things we learned

Ben Flower congratulates Joe Burgess
Ben Flower congratulates Joe Burgess

Five things we learned from Wigan’s 30-18 win against Wakefield...

1. A pattern has emerged from Wigan’s opening five games - that they are much better in the second-half than the first.

They have started slowly in all of their matches and yet still chalked up four wins to climb to second in the table.

This was the second game in a row they had trailed at half-time (4-16 and 10-12), and yet gone on to win by two scores or more (32-16 and 30-18 respectively).

The previous week, they were 8-0 down at Warrington and recovered to outscore the hosts in the second-half, despite suffering a loss.

Against Hull FC in Wollongong, Wigan were 12-10 up at the break and powered away to win 24-10.

And on the opening day they led at Salford by a slender 10-6 at the interval - before racing in the tries to win by 40-12!

Tony Clubb says Wigan will put a side to the sword when they play for 80 minutes. The stats suggest he might be right.

2. In their previous four games, Sam Tomkins has switch into the halves during the first-half when Morgan Escare has been introduced from the bench.

Not yesterday.

Starting No.7 Sam Powell still switched to hooker when Thomas Leuluai was rested, but Tomkins remained at full-back - with Escare coming on and playing in the right-side halfback role.

The Frenchman showed some nice touches, if appearing a little awkward at times, and had a second-half try ruled out.

Tomkins certainly impressed with some nice touches when their attack clicked in the second-half.

The No.1 also kicked four goals from five attempts, with Escare pegging on a conversion as well.

3. Joe Burgess finished with a hat-trick but Wigan’s left-side was not up to its usual lethal best in attack - and defensively both edges had flaws.

Shaun Wane says some players were guilty of “jumping out of their system”, which they will address this week.

Tomkins aside, the star performers were forwards, with Willie Isa enjoying one of his best games in a Wigan shirt.

Ben Flower and Tony Clubb dominated down the middle and nullified the powerful Trinity pack, and Frenchman Romain Navarrete had a solid first outing of the year.

4. A little piece of rugby league history was made in Sunday’s game - it was the first time a woman officiated in a Super League game.

Tara Jones, who plays for St Helens Ladies, was an in-goal official and gave a Tom Davies try an approving nod.

She has previously officiated in the Challenge Cup and at Wembley in the Championship Schools competition.

Her involvement came in the week of International Women’s Day, and Wigan took the opportunity to introduce their women’s team to the DW Stadium crowd.

5. On Wakefield, this was their first defeat of the season but Chris Chester was rightfully pleased with their effort.

“We just came up short, we were beaten by the better side,” he said, saying their discipline was the biggest issue to work on.

Wakefield, who beat Wigan twice last year, look capable of once again challenging in the top-half of the Super League.

Chester appeared bemused by Wane’s comment that Wigan had been motivated by his remarks earlier in the week.

“We wanted to go five from five - Shaun made a bit of a deal of it in the press, but I wasn’t going to say I wanted to come here and lose,” said the ex-Warriors player.