Sunday, 24 February 2013

Wigan v London

A dominant second half display was the highlight of a mixed game this afternoon as Wigan hosted the London Broncos.

The return of Sam Tomkins to the team gave Wigan confidence and Luke Dorn's failure to make the seventeen meant Dan Sarginson deputised at full back for London and surely left the field sore after a 80 minute shout fest at his fellow Broncos.

Wigan got off to the best possible start as a London knock-on from the kick-off gave them a scrum in a great place from which the ball went across the field to Richards, who skilfully offloaded to Thornley to gave him an easy run to the line and with Richard's conversion Wigan led 6-0.

Wigan could have had a quick second after a nice passage of play between Tomkins, Hughes and Charnley gave Green the chance to create a try with a pass for Richards but the winger was knocked into touch as he went over the line.

The second score did come in the ninth minute from a penalty,Tomkins passed across to Hughes who spotted Charnley in space and put him in for the try in the corner but the missed conversion left the score at 10-0.

In recent weeks discipline has let Wigan down and in the 16th minute a cheeky grubber kick by Colbon saw a drop out called in favour of London,Tomkins disputed with the official and received a sin-binning for ten minutes.

The extra man allowed London to get on the score board in the 19th minute as an injury to Mossop in back play allowed London to have an advantage in attack and a run by Channing created space and his pass found Colborn for a nice try in the corner, Witt converted to make it 10-6.

London went in again as Gower broke away and gave Dixon an easy run to the line to level the score, Witt's conversion gave them a 12-10 lead. Wigan regained the lead within a minute of Tomkins returning to the field as a nice run by Smith saw McIlorum collect from the play the ball and dive over for the try with a successful conversion, Wigan led 16-12.

London fought back and a mis-kick from Green handed the ball to Randall who ran unchallenged for the line and with the conversion they led 18-16 with minutes until the interval. Wigan broke back in the 38th minute as a pass from Green found O'Loughlin who dived over for his milestone 300th point for Wigan and a nice conversion from Richards saw Wigan lead 22-18 at the hooter.

Barely minutes into the second half and Wigan were in after a solo effort from Tomkins saw him go in for an easy score, 26-18. The momentum quickly led to another try as Thornley offloaded to Richards who went over in the corner and his successful conversion from the touchline put Wigan clear at 32-18.

London's discipline let them down in the 56th minute as after receiving a team warning for persistent fouls, Cook was sent to the sin-bin and Wigan after a nice passage of play were in again only to have the effort chalked off. Their next attack did count as a line break by the Tomkins brothers saw them run clear with Green and Sam's pass to the half-back saw him thunder towards the line and go over for a nicely worked try, Richards converted and Wigan were firmly in control at 38-18.

London's effort to get back into the game saw them make a mistake and as Dixon collected the ball in the 64th minute, a drop allowed Jack Hughes to break through the line and despite juggling the ball he managed to offload to Charnley who shimmied past the defence to seal his brace and put Wigan over the 40 point mark, Richards converted and Wigan led 44-18.

The scoring finished in the 68th minute with a deserved second try for Thornley after a nice pass from Sam Tomkins but a missed conversion denied the chance to hit 50 points as they led 48-18.

Wigan could have reached 50 if Smith and Tuson's combination enabled Sam to score as the ball went over the line but to no avail and at the hooter, Wigan celebrated a well deserved win but with the bad news that Mossop may be out for 12 weeks after dislocating a shoulder in the 20th minute injury.


As for my prediction, at 16-18 down I wondered whether I had called it right but a crushing second period of 26 unanswered points saw me fall two points short of the right gap with my score of 40-12 very close to being correct.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Wigan v London Preview

Wigan Warriors play host to London Broncos tomorrow afternoon in a game that many will expect to see an easy win for the home side with the Broncos currently winless after the opening three rounds.

Both will look to get back to winning ways, London for their first of the season after defeats to Widnes, Huddersfield and Wakefield and for Wigan they hope to avenge the defeat suffered at Huddersfield last week which has left them seventh in the table.

Sam Tomkins is included in the nineteen for Wigan despite doubts on his fitness and for London, Dan Sarginson and Luke Dorn  return after injury.

Wigan Warriors: Burke, Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Green, Hughes, McIlorum, Mossop, O'Loughlin, Powell, Richards, Smith, Taylor, Thornley, L.Tomkins, Tuson, S.Tomkins.

London Broncos: Bailey, Bryant, Channing, Cook, Colbon, Dixon, Dorn, Fisher, Gower, Kaufusi, Krasniqi, Lee, Lovell, Melling, Randall, Rodney, Sarginson, Wheeldon, Witt.

Prediction wise, even though as a Warrior I expect a massive win, I am cautious that it could be close with both teams having lost last week so a score of Wigan 40 London 12 is my choice.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors

A top of the table clash at the John Smith's stadium saw the Giants come out on top against a Wigan side who had raced into an early 10-0 lead.

Before the game, Wigan suffered a massive blow as Sam Tomkins was ruled out with a shoulder injury which meant Charnley dropped back to full back to cover for him and in the early exchanges, Wigan capitalised on a Hudds error as Farrell went over from 10 metres with Richards successfully adding the conversion - 6-0 Wigan.

 Farrell was instrumental in Wigan's second try as after collecting the ball from Smith, he went through a gap to race 30 metres down the field and spray a pass to Charnley who went over in the corner but a missed conversion meant Wigan led 10-0.

Wigan looked sharp but just like last week, their discipline let them down as in the 23rd minute they were caught short on the right edge and McGilvary went in in the corner with Brough's conversion bringing them back to 10-6 down.

Both sides pushed for further scored but it remained 10-6 to Wigan as the half time hooter sounded, the second half began with both sides equal in attack and defence but Farrell's conceding of a penalty for holding down gave Hudds the chance to mount an attack and the Wigan defence held out until an overload of attackers down the right, left Cording with a nice gap as he went over for the try with Brough's conversion giving them a 12-10 lead in the 50th minute.

Another discipline fail by Wigan this time from McIlorum for a high tackle allowed Brough to kick over a penalty goal and widen the margin to 4 points at 14-10.

Wigan pressed to get back their lead but some great defence from Hudds kept them out and similarly Hudds were unable to break the Wigan defence, no surprise as going into the game both sides had the best defensive records.

Brough successfully kicked a 48 yard penalty after another infringement by Wigan for holding down to make it 16-10.

However in the final play of the game on the back of conceding seven consecutive penalties, Hudds got a lucky break as Wigan passed the ball along the line hoping for a gap but as the ball was thrown by Richards up popped Ferres with the intercept and he raced 80 yards unchallenged to score and seal a win for the Giants soon joined by Brough's conversion to leave the final score at 22-10 and keep their 100% start to the season and inflict a first defeat of the season on Wigan.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Huddersfield v Wigan Preview

Team news
  Huddersfield have named their 19 which sees  Jacob Fairbank and Anthony Mullally come in to replace Luke George and Luke O’Donnell.

 Huddersfield 1. Scott Grix 3. Leroy Cudjoe 4. Joe Wardle 5. Jermaine McGillvary 6. Danny Brough
7. Luke Robinson 8. Eorl Crabtree 9. Shaun Lunt 10. Craig Kopczak 11. Brett Ferres 13. David Faiumu 15. Larne Patrick 16. Jason Chan 17. Ukuma Ta'ai 18. Aaron Murphy 19. Jamie Cording
20. Jacob Fairbank 22. Anthony Mullally 29. Stuart Fielden.

Wigan Warriors have named their 19 man squad for Saturday's away trip to face Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith's Stadium.

Paul Prescott is missing due to injury and Dom Crosby retains his place in the 19 in an unchanged squad. 

Wigan -Greg Burke, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Gil Dudson, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Darrell Goulding, Blake Green, Jack Hughes, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Powell, Pat Richards, Matty Smith, Scott Taylor, Iain Thornley, Sam Tomkins
Match Preview
The game sees the hosts sitting top of the table after two comfortable wins over Saints and London giving them massive confidence against a Wigan side who are still undefeated after an easy win over Salford and a tough draw against Warrington.

Huddersfield will be keen to replicate their form from when the teams met at the beginning of 2012 in Wigan and will hope to avenge a run of three consecutive defeats at home to the Warriors, the last coming last May with Wigan winning 32-12.

Both sides take to the field with a mass of home grown talent which can only be good for the English game. Huddersfield will have to watch out for Tomkins and Charnley who are the main threats from Wigan and will hope that Cudjoe, Crabtree and the pacy Luke George do the home fans proud.

Skemnews prediction
Due to both sides having good form so early in the season and both still yet to be defeated, a close match is the likely outcome but despite Huddersfield having a 100% record I see Wigan getting the win with the momentum of the Warrington game still in them. So score wise I will go for Huddersfield 16 Wigan 28

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves

First game of the new season for Wigan at home at the DW and against fierce rivals Warrington Wolves, it was never going to be an easy game.

Wigan started the better with a couple of decent sets in the opening minutes but Warrington opened the scoring in the 10th minute as Joel Monaghan crossed in the corner after a set of quick passes unlocked the Wigan defence and gave him a clear run for the line and Hodgson converted for a 6-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Wigan had a slight problem with Matty Smith taking a knock in a tackle but luckily despite the blood, he was bandaged up and continued as Wigan pressurised the Warrington line through Blake Green as he supplied Thornley and the resulting kick left Warrington grounding the ball in goal and conceding a drop-out.

From the drop-out, Wigan spread the ball across to the line after Tomkins' run and the ball came to Gouldiing out on the right who fed Charnley for an easy score in the corner to put Wigan on the board, sadly Richards missed the conversion to leave Wigan 6-4 down.

20 minutes in and Wigan's choice to bring on Flower for Dudson had an instant effect as from the following set O'Loughlin found Farrell who threw a nice pass for Flower to sidestep the defence before going over to give Wigan the lead with Richards converting to give Wigan a 10-6 lead.

Warrington pushed forward and should have hit back after a nice run from Riley saw him stopped metres from the line by a great tackle by Richards and then in the next tackle a knock-on denied Warrington the chance to go over.

They did hit back in the 36th minute as they attacked the Wigan defence and just like earlier Monaghan was found on the overlap unmarked and able to go over for a easy try, but on review the score should have been chalked off as in the build up a Wigan player had been tackled in the air when receiving a kick but the score stood and surprisingly Hodgson missed the conversion so 10 all.

Just before the break a mistake by Warrington gave Wigan a penalty just out from the Warrington line and Richards elected to 'go for the two' and successfully kicked a penalty goal to give Wigan a 12-10 lead at the interval.

The lead disappeared barely two minutes into the second half as a stellar run by Myler after nice play saw him fly over to regain the lead for Warrington as Hodgson added the conversion to make it 16-12 to Warrington.

In the 50th minute, after a nice run Goulding was flagged by line judge Child to be in touch despite the screen showing he was clearly still in play and Wigan had a penalty which led to nice play across the field and Farrell going over to close the gap but Bentham went to the video referee as he was unsure of 'crossing' in the build-up, the try stood but Richards' second miss of the night left the score at 16 all.

Bentham seemed to lose patience with Wigan after conceding four penalties in the same set and warned told captain O'Loughlin to 'sort it out' on the hour mark but despite all the pressure, Warrington could not break through the Wigan defence who defended what seemed like 18 tackles in a few minutes.

Both sides pushed for a winning score and in the 73rd minute, Wigan thought they had it as Smith swept over a drop goal to push Wigan 17-16 ahead. Warrington hit a drop goal of their own minutes later to level the score at 17 all after Briers' kick bounced over off the inside of the post and his luck was the final score of the game.

A draw was a fair result as at times both sides could have taken a lead worthy of winning but excellent defensive performances kept the score down and like in 2012, missed conversions if converted would have given Wigan a win but to hold a strong and unchanged Warrington for Wigan with what is a new youthful setup is a massive achievement as well as the fact that 11 of their 17 were English born with 9 being academy products.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Salford City Reds vs Wigan Warriors

Super League 2013 is in full swing and so it seems are the reigning premiers, Wigan Warriors after a opening day demolition of Salford City Reds.

Pre-season saw mixed results for the Warriors which included a 22-0 defeat to rivals Warrington Wolves but once the real competition began, Wigan were back to their best with 2012's Man Of Steel Sam Tomkins leading the way and captain Sean O'Loughlin reaching the milestone of 300 appearances.

Salford looked to impress new owner Dr Marwan Koukash with a stellar display but sadly for them it was the visitors who started the brighter as Tomkins opened the scoring with the first try of the 2013 season. A neat sidestep by debutant Blake Green allowed him to offload to Liam Farrell who charged forward before spraying the ball wide to the supporting Tomkins who strolled over the line in the 13th minute.

Salford pushed to try and level the score but Wigan went in again on the half-hour when Matty Smith powered towards the try line only to be blocked by Jack Murphy (on loan from Wigan) before rolling over to stretch and secure the try against his former employers, 12-0 Wigan.

Wigan added another just before the break as 2012 top scorer Josh Charnley opened his 2013 account in style after a nice Smith/Tomkins exchange allowed Goulding to trick two defenders and set up Charnley to go for the corner and hand Wigan a 16-0 lead at half-time.

Wigan's attack suffered a blow early in the second half as Gil Dudson was sin binned for interference and Wigan were down to 12 men but the matter of a missing man had little effect on their momentum as they notched up their fourth try scored by Iain Thornley, the result of a smart kick from Sam Powell which enabled Thornley to scoop up and cross the line, 22-0 Wigan.

An hour gone and Wigan were in total control,even more so as their class really began to shine as two quick tries stunned the Salford line - Tomkins slid through a gap with Richards in support and though Tomkins could have gone over alone he unselfishly passed wide to his winger who flew over to add another four points to the scoreboard, 26-0 Wigan.

Salford had barely restarted before in ran Wigan again as Thornley zipped from deep in the Wigan half to offload to Richards who called in the defence to provide a pass for Liam Farrell who went over to become the sixth scorer on the night and show why he has replaced Gareth Hock as the new number 12.

The win all but sealed and Salford looking to seal some consolation at the least saw Wigan exploit their opponents as Tomkins sealed his brace with a sweet solo run from deep in his own half before then scoring his hat-trick try after nice work from Green to put Wigan 42-0 up.

As the match entered the final stages, Salford's desperate push to avoid being 'nilled' was met by a resolute Wigan defence which held firm until the end of the 80 minutes to provide then with a satisfying clean sheet and a well earned two points.

Next week, Wigan host rivals Warrington at the DW stadium in the first home game of the season and as with all home matches in 2013, my coverage will be more focused with the use of multimedia and hopefully live updates.