Wigan Warriors lost for the first time in the 2018 Super League after a 16-10 defeat to Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night.
Three goals separated the two sides as Tom Lineham and Ryan Atkins scored for the Wolves whilst Liam Marshall and Tony Clubb got Wigan’s tries.
It was Bryson Goodwin’s converted kicks that ultimately made the difference and gave Warrington a victory over their local rivals.
For Warrington, Tyrone Roberts came back into the side after missing the last couple of weeks out through injury. Coach Steve Price gave Sitaleki Akauola his Wolves debut.
Shaun Wane named an experienced side after the Warriors returned from their New South Wales tour this week. John Bateman came in to replace Dan Sarginson at centre whilst Joe Burgess missed out.
The first half
Warrington opened the scoring as Bryson Goodwin kicked a penalty goal. Tony Clubb hit Tyrone Roberts in a late tackle and referee Ben Thaler gave the penalty. Goodwin comfortably converted the two points.
The Wire went 8-0 in front five minutes later through a Tom Lineham try. The home side shifted the ball out onto the right side and the winger was able to dart over in the corner. Goodwin added the extras and Warrington were ahead by eight points in eight minutes.
The Wolves piled on the pressure after their try, as they forced a number of drop-outs but the Warriors held firm.
Wigan had very little chances in the first half, as they could not conjur up a real try scoring opportunity on the Wolves line.
Warrington did have a golden moment on the stroke of half time to further their advantage. Ben Murdoch-Masila flung a surprising offload to the waiting Ryan Atkins on the right side but the centre knocked on in what would have been a certain try.
The second half
Warrington raced out of the blocks in the second half as Roberts ran down the right side. The scrum half stabbed a kick over the top for the chasing Murdoch-Masila but the prop knocked on and Wigan were back in possession.
Goodwin put his side 10-0 to the good after he converted a penalty that was conceded by a Sam Tomkins dangerous tackle on Stefan Ratchford.
It could have been a 12 point lead for Warrington if Goodwin had converted another penalty for the home side but his kick went wide.
However, the Wire got their second try just before the hour mark as Ryan Atkins touched down. With a try given on the field, the decision went to the video referee and it was awarded as the centre got to the ball first and over the line. Goodwin’s goal made it 16-0 with just over 20 minutes to play.
Wigan replied almost instantly to Atkins’ try as Liam Marshall went over in the corner. A series of passes on the left side allowed the winger to leap towards the line and get the ball down. Tomkins could not add the extras but the Warriors were on the score sheet.
In the final minute of the game, Tony Clubb powered his way over the line beating the Warrington defenders to score and despite Tomkins’ accurate kick, it was too late for the Warriors as they went home with a 16-10 defeat.
Referee: Ben Thaler
Half time: 8-0
Travel sickness and jet-lag to blame for defeat?
After returning from their tour of New South Wales on Monday, Shaun Wane believed the long-haul travelling had nothing to do with tonight’s defeat. He said: “It had nothing to do with that at all- we just weren’t good enough.
Wigan second rower Liam Farrell echoed Wane as he said: “We’ve had five days to try and get over it now and it’s not been mentioned once this week as we didn’t want it at the back of our minds and I think we did a good job of that.
“I just think tonight Warrington were the better team and we’ll take a lot out of that to improve on for next week.”
Thoughts on the game?
On reflection of the game, Wigan’s Wane said: “Warrington started with energy and finished their sets far better than us. They had a lot of energy which took some juice out of us.
“I think they might be disappointed with the score at half-time, given the possession they had.”
Warrington Wolves coach Steve Price reiterated Wane’s comments as he said: “The scoreline wasn’t a reflection of the game, especially in the first-half.
“Wigan are a quality team and it’s good to come away with the result.”