Wigan Warriors 24 Warrington Wolves 20

Josh Charnley
Josh Charnley

WARRIORS required nerves of steel to seal a top four spot going into the play-offs with a nerve-shredding win over Warrington.

The champions fought back from 18-4 down to claim victory, with flashes of class to catch up when the game looked gone - and held on during the closing stages when the Wolves threw everything at them - coming close to snatching the game with six seconds to go.

Despite the wide gulf by half-time, with Warrington leading by 14, the opening exchanges gave no indication of what was to come as Joe Burgess enjoyed opportunities which saw him make two try-saving tackles and start the scoring.

His first try came from a bullet pass from Sean O’Loughlin in the seventh minute - but with five minutes to go until the break Wigan were 12-4 down thanks to tries from Burgess’ opposite number Joel Monaghan and Richie Myler.

Myler’s try came with a helping of controversy though, as referee Phil Bentham missed Wiganer Chris Hill dropping the ball as he got up to play it in the build-up, handing Warrington the chance to extend their two-point lead through Chris Bridge’s weaving run before he handed on to the half-back to finish off.

But the try of the half belonged to Monaghan, who took advantage of poor positioning from Wigan, after Josh Charnley had given up possession by dropping a pass, to touch down a Myler kick just before the ball went dead with time virtually up on the clock.

Wigan ensured they got their act together as the second half got underway, with Burgess bagging his second after a frantic opening five minutes.

And with the hour approaching, Charnley weighed in with a try every bit as attractive to watch as Monaghan’s effort earlier in the piece.

A kick through from Anthony Gelling was hacked on by the flamboyant winger, who overcame a collision with Matty Russell to win the race to ground the ball.

But from the kick-off tempers flared, with Paul Wood landing a blow on Eddy Pettybourne which saw them both ordered for a spell in the sin bin.

A Warrington penalty in front of the sticks on the next set made it seem the scoreboard was out of reach for the home side.

With Matty Smith having missed his previous three shots at goal, the champions needed two scores to hit the front.

And that’s exactly what they did.

Charnley picked-off a Michael Monaghan pass to race 80 metres downfield - and just three minutes later, in his last regular season appearance in a Wigan shirt, Blake Green crashed over to put Wigan back in front for the first time since their opening score.

Shaun Wane’s men held-on heroically as the clock ticked down - and were rewarded with a second chance should they lose next week.

Wigan Warriors: Matty Bowen; Josh Charnley, Anthony Gelling, Dan Sarginson, Joe Burgess; Blake Green, Matty Smith; Ben Flower, Michael McIlorum, Dom Crosby, Joel Tomkins, Liam Farrell; Sean O’Loughlin

Subs: Sam Powell, Eddy Pettybourne, Tony Clubb, John Bateman

Warrington Wolves: Matty Russell; Joel monaghan, Stefan Ratchford, Chris Bridge, Rhys Evans; Gareth O’Brien, Richie Myler; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Roy Asotasi, James Laithwaite, Trent Waterhouse; Ben Harrison

Subs: Micky Higham, Paul Wood, Ben Currie, Anthony England

Wigan Warriors:

Tries: Burgess 2, Charnley 2, Green

Goals: Smith 2

Warrington Wolves:

Tries: J Monaghan 2, Myler

Goals: Ratchford 4

Half-time: 4-18

Attendance: 15,656