Wigan Warriors 42 Catalans Dragons 0: Five things we learned

Five things we learned from Wigan's 42-0 win against Catalans Dragons...

Monday, 1st April 2019, 12:03 pm
Updated Monday, 1st April 2019, 12:59 pm
Joe Burgess scored a stunning hat-trick

1. Debutant Morgan Smithies made a small piece of Wigan history - becoming the first player to represent the club who was born this century!

If that statistic makes a lot of Warriors fans feel old, the performance of the 18-year-old (born November 7, 2000) also left them encouraged.

The England academy forward had that John Bateman-esque niggle and energy about him, laughing when he forced a Catalans error and even facing-up to ex-Kangaroos forward Greg Bird.

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Smithies was one of four young forwards who had 15 appearances between them, along with Liam Paisley, Liam Byrne and Oliver Partington - who all deserve praise. With that in mind...

2. This was a great win which exceeded all expectations.

Given Wigan's absentees in the pack - and where they were eight or nine days ago - very few, if any, would have predicted such a landslide win. Most would have taken an ugly, close two points.

But during their rocky opening, Adrian Lam had been saying they were building and promising it would click together.

It certainly did.

Little wonder he walked into his press conference, punched the air and declared: "Yeah! I'm smiling again!"

He had a lot to smile about.

3. Joe Burgess led the rout with a hat-trick but there were sparkling performances across the side.

Wigan led 8-0 at half-time but cut loose afterwards and attacked with enterprise and swagger, racing in a further six tries. Oliver Gildart was a potent threat in space, making a jaw-dropping 322 metres, and it was nice to see both Jarrod Sammut and Zak Hardaker rewarded for their fine performances with their first tries for the club.

Lam later declared his back-five of Hardaker, Manfredi, Sarginson, Gildart and Burgess the best in Super League. They were a thrill to watch.

4. Glass half-empty or half-full?

If you're the former, you could point out Wigan are still only two points off bottom-spot.

The latter, and you can say they have the third-best defence in the league, are now just two points from fourth spot and will welcome back a clutch of players - including Sean O'Loughlin and Joe Greenwood - within days.

After successive wins, is the premature early-season talk of a "crisis" officially over?

Next up are back-to-back trips to West Yorkshire to face Castleford and Wakefield... before Lam's men return to the DW Stadium to welcome St Helens on Good Friday.

5. The question was posed to the Wigan players during the week: "Will Sam Tomkins celebrate if he scores a try?"

He didn't get a chance. None of his Catalans team-mates did, either, and they rarely threatened Wigan's line.

If they were average in the first-half they were awful after that, and coach Steve McNamara didn't hold back, branding their performance "disgraceful".

It was.

Because to look at the talent in the side - from Tomkins to Gigot to Bird to Edwards to Kasiano - they should be much, much better. McNamara has issues to tackle.