Wigan Warriors 36 Hull KR 18: Five things we learned
Five things we learned from Wigan's 36-18 win against Hull KR last night...
1. Wigan fans got their first glimpse of late-season recruit Bevan French.
He came off the bench for the final quarter and had an early half-chance, briefly turning on the afterburners before kicking the ball infield - only to trip.
The ex-Parramatta crowd-favourite had a couple of tough carries and his presence in the squad has dialed up competition for places across the backline, and even into the halves - Jarrod Sammut was the player who lost his bench spot to accommodate French.
2. Remember when Wigan were floating just above the tussle at the bottom?
Now, they look on course for a top-five finish and consider this; if they beat second-placed Warrington next Friday, the two sides will be level on points.
Former coach Shaun Wane watched on from the directors' box to see his old side claim their eighth win from their last nine matches.
3. Wigan may have marched on but in many respects, Adrian Lam thought it was a step back.
The sides were level 12-12 at the end of a first-half lacking fizz and excitement.
He felt his players were lacking energy from the previous week's 15-14 win at Hull FC, but admitted he yelled at the players at half-time to jolt them awake - and it worked.
After an exchange of tries, the Warriors finished with a flourish to score three more and Liam Farrell ended up with a double. How is he not in the national squad?
4. Oli Partington's development has been one of the success stories of the season so far.
At the start of the season he was on the same level as a clutch of fringe forwards.
Now, he is a starting front-rower and mixing it up with his aggression and enthusiasm.
"I love everything about him," said Lam. "He's just a machine."
5. A tip of the hat to Hull KR coach Tony Smith for his response when asked about Joe Burgess' try.
Two apparent forward passes were missed by the officials and the touchdown was awarded - the winger's 100th of his Wigan career.
It was 18-18 until that point but the hosts kicked on, and scored two further unanswered tries.
But Smith didn't complain and instead took a classier approach.
"They were forward - but this isn't a whinge," he said. "We made more mistakes than any official tonight. It's a tough job."