Sunday, 23 February 2014

Roosters Triumph In WCC



History beckoned for Wigan as they faced the Sydney Roosters as outsiders yesterday in the World Club Challenge looking for a fourth title in the first staging in Australia for 20 years.

The famous Wigan win over Brisbane in 1994 was the last in Australia and Wigan used that success to inspire them against the Roosters but the NRL side proved to be too much of a match for Wigan.

Wigan kicked off and Sydney began their attack and it only took until the second set to open the scoring as Jennings swished past Charnley and went over for the try after being picked out be Pearce and Maloney converted for a 6-0 lead.

Both sides made errors as Sydney knocked on with Wigan kicking dead soon after but Sydney soon extended their lead as Friend found Sam Moa who went over for the try and a second conversion from Maloney made it 12-0.

A couple of sets passed by and Wigan got a very lucky escape as a kick over the top was taken by Minichello after Bowen had failed to jump but luckily for the full back, the Roosters captain dropped the ball with the try line in sight.

Wigan's mistakes did cost them as an error in passing the ball allowed Sydney to gain possession and a grubber from Friend saw Bowen fail to ground the ball in goal and led to Jennings collecting his second try after a video referee review with Maloney converting for an 18-0 lead.

Wigan had a massive scare when Jennings raced clear but it was pulled back for a Wigan scrum but with no positive result and minutes later, Pettybourne was put on report after a big hit on Kenny-Dowall and the winger went in for a try after Williams had found him but on review the try was denied as an excellent tackle from Burgess forced the Kiwi into touch meaning a half time deficit of 18-0 rather than the possible 24-0.

Whatever Shaun Wane said to the Wigan side at half-time it certainly had a quick effect as after a brilliant run by O'Loughlin to within metres of the line, Sarginson swept wide a brilliant pass to Burgess who flew over for the try to the joy of the travelling Warriors fans but the joy didn't extend as Smith missed the conversion for an 18-4 score.

Just as Wigan had got back in the game, the deficit rose as a huge mistake in passing from Wigan allowed Jennings to intercept and secure the hat-trick with the easiest of his trio, Maloney kicked successfully for a 24-4 lead and Wigan needed a miracle.

Hope came quickly as Charnley scored his first try of 2014 after a high kick from Smith caught two bounces and was collected in the welcome arms of Charnley who went over for the try and thankfully Smith kicked the conversion to take the score to 24-10.

Wigan had a nice period of pressure that led to Charnley scoring his second as Farrell and Goulding combined and picked him out to reduced the deficit but only to ten as Smith missed the kick and the score stood at 24-14.

Wigan could have fallen further behind quickly but to their joy a Roosters attack saw Maloney pass into touch but the try did come minutes later as Friend found Waerea-Hargreaves who increased the lead as he split the Wigan defence and Maloney's conversion made it 30-14 and surely sealed the win for the hosts.

The sealer came barely four minutes later as Wigan were caught out again as Kenny-Dowall was found by Aubusson and went in for the try, Maloney made it six from six with the boot for a 36-14 lead.

Despite staring a loss in the face, Wigan continued the fight but to no avail as the Roosters celebrated the win and collected the famous World Club Challenge trophy but in the post-match speeches it was brilliant to see such praise for Wigan from Minichello and emotional to see O'Loughlin reflect on what was a bad game for Wigan but just how far we have come in the last year.