Up until this stage of the Super League season it has largely been disappointing for the Wigan Warriors and their fans as the club have massively underperformed during their Super League title defence. Saying exactly where it has gone wrong is a tough thing to do as the answer is never straightforward in professional sport and is almost always a combination of events that ultimately leads to a season of underachieving.
Whether it be injuries, poor officiating, an unsettled group or just downright bad luck, there are many different factors to take into account. For the Warriors this campaign, they’ve certainly been unlucky in terms of being able to pick from a fully fit squad and at one stage, it looked like a full-blown crisis with up to four Wigan players added to the injury list over the busy period of May.
Mercifully, the majority of the squad have been able to make a return to the first team over the start of the summer months and with that, Wigan’s results have taken an upward turn at just the right time. It does go to show that the power of late-season momentum has the ability to transform a team’s fortunes and make the beginning of the season and all its troubles a very distant memory.
The Rhinos miss out against Wigan Warriors in a hard fought contest at Emerald Headingley FULL
TIME Leeds 14 – 23 Wigan pic.twitter.com/AQoGhRDORd
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) June 14, 2019
In essence, this all means that Wigan could in reality still be able to defend the 2018 Super League title that they won but even the most ardent supporter will tell you it won’t be at all easy with the Warriors choosing to take the road less travelled to Old Trafford. Their 10/1 rugby league odds to win the Grand Final do show just how much has to be done but as third favourites, those odds do also suggest a late-season Wigan charge is on that will see them make the play-offs. Encouragingly for Wigan, it can certainly be done and they will be motivated to charge up the table. Along with a heap of injuries this season, that desire to win at all costs has also been hampering Wigan given it has been missing from time to time, but it does look like we are seeing that determination return again. 😆S C E N E S
— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪ (@WiganWarriorsRL) June 15, 2019
Either way, you can definitely see the confidence gradually growing in the camp and Adrian Lam touched on Wigan’s will to win against Leeds and how proud he was to see it. There is nothing as thrilling as the chase for the play-offs with everything on the line when there is no margin for error and judging by Lam’s recent comments, he seems to indicate that his players are relishing the challenge.
St Helens would have hoped that the other teams in the league would have been able to finish Wigan off and nip any talk of a late charge for the play-offs in the bud but that hasn’t happened, and you feel that could be significant given what happened last season.
Despite finishing 10 points ahead of Wigan last term, St Helens weren’t able to stop the Warriors beating them at Old Trafford and make no mistake, the more Adrian Lam’s men begin making their way up the table, the more St Helens will be looking over their shoulders with genuine concern.