Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Warriors Deny 12 Man Wildcats

Wigan's four game run over Easter ended with a 100% success rate as they denied a strong fightback from a weakened Wakefield who played 68 minutes with only 12 men.
Wigan got off to an amazing start as a deep kick was poorly dealt with by Wakefield and Wigan had great field position which allowed Green to find Tomkins from the scrum and he spotted Thornley on the right who took the pass and slipped through a gap to go over for the opening try in the corner but with Charnley and Richards sidelined it was Smith who took over the goal  kicking duties and sadly his touchline attempt missed to leave Wigan at 4-0 up.
Wigan were in again in the 7th minute as they went down the left side with Tomkins providing a pass that split the Wildcats defence and allowed stand in winger Gelling to dive over in the corner for the try and Smith's successful conversion gave Wigan a 10-0 lead.

Wakefield's task suffered a massive blow in the 12th minute as from a tackle by Farrell, Justin Poore got up and after a scuffle landed a punch which meant he was sent off but it seemed to be a small blessing as Wakefield got on to the scoreboard.

From a penalty, Mellars swept past a couple of tackles and through the defensive line to go over under the posts and Sykes' conversion brought them to only four points down at 10-6. Their luck got better from receiving the kick off as Aiton went on a blistering run and swooped through a gap in the line and drove towards the try-line but in passing a Wigan hand pushed it back and right into the path of Mathers who went over to level the score but Sykes' second conversion handed the Wildcats a 12-10 lead.

Amazing spirit from the 12 men but their luck was brought to a halt in the 23rd minute as a nice move from left to right gave Goulding space and allowed him to offload to the in-running Thornley who went over in the corner and despite the missed conversion Wigan led 14-12.

Four minutes later, Wigan pushed ahead as a darting run by Tomkins found him clear with the try-line in sight and he went over for his first try under the posts allowing Smith to convert with ease and give Wigan a 20-12 lead.

Wakefield were split again as Thornley and Goulding ran through the defence and Thornley repaid his centre for the try assist by setting up one and Goulding went over safely and a bit of luck saw Smith's conversion smash the post and go over successfully as Wigan now had a 14 point lead at 26-12.

Blake Green has consistently created tries this season and continued that great form by shaping a pass to Farrell on the left and he sped past Mathers and into the corner for the try, Smith missed the conversion but from a difficult angle it was so close and Wigan steamed cleat into the break at 30-12.

Just like in the first half, Wigan started with a quick score as fast passes between Goulding, Burke and then lastly Hughes gave Gelling space and saw him seal his second try and Smith missed again but the lead was now 34-12.

Tomkins bagged his second by stepping through the defence for an easy try and with Smith off the field, Sam Powell was given the chance to convert from an easy position but maybe nerves got the better of him as he blazed it wide of the posts but his side led by 26 at 38-12.

Wakefield hit a quick double to spur thoughts of a comeback as Lee Smith swished through a jumbled Wigan defence for a well worked try and Sykes kept up his 100% success rate in kicking the conversion to bring Wakefield back to 38-18 and Aiton ran for the line then kicked a grubber before collecting and going over for the try with Sykes' fourth goal narrowing the gap to 14 points at 38-24.

That score put Wakefield as the highest scorers against Wigan in 2013 which was more surprising as they had done it with only 12 men but their hopes of a comeback were dashed in style as  Tomkins raced 70 metres to complete his hat-trick and Smith's successful conversion put the score at 44-24 and in the final minutes, Farrell was announced as the man of the match to a loud cheer and despite the stadium looking a bit empty in places an attendance of 12,152 was pretty good as Wigan held on for the win.

100% over Easter is amazing when for the majority of the four games there have been a pretty youthful Wigan side on the field and with a long injury list it makes many wonder what will happen when Wigan are back to full strength.

Prediction wise, I had predicted before I knew Richards would be missing but the sending off gave it a chance and the final score of 44-24 wasn't a long way from my hopes of 40-12.

Next week is a tough game against a revitalised Bradford who sit a surprising third in the table a year after they were on the verge of going bust.