Losing to St Helens is never nice, but, what a game that was. Credit to St Helens, they took their chances and got the two points. In light of the week’s events, the game was the perfect dose of escapism for 80 minutes.
I actually thought that the performance was Wigan’s best performance since the Cronulla game. Having Thomas Leuluai, Sam Powell, George Williams, Michael McIlorum and Sean O’Loughlin back in the squad makes such an unbelievable difference. The last play options when Wigan are further than 20 metres away from the oppositions try line is still a bit ropey, to say the least. Compare that with Matty Smith’s performance and there is a lot of work to be done on that. Having said that, the options closer to the line look much better with than Williams/Burgess partnership shining again last night.
Lewis Tierney ultimately came up with a mistake in the 77th-minute game which was perhaps more unlucky than a mistake; he scored a great try earlier in the game through his support play. I think at this moment in time, to push Wigan into the top 4 the fullback position is the biggest cause for concern. Tierney linked into the line well last night to set up Tom Davies but I struggle to see him do that enough. When Tomkins or Escare occupy the fullback position, they play as a third playmaker, Tomkins more so than Escare. That adds that extra option and extra decision for the defence to make; at the moment I don’t think Wigan are doing that enough.
It feels, again, like we are slowly getting bodies back and with the expected return of Tomkins, Bateman and Gildart to mention three in June, hopefully, the top four becomes closer. It is nowhere need panic stations yet but we do need to stay in touch with the top four and a win against 5th place Wakefield on Monday is much needed.