4 days ago
Wigan move off bottom
Wigan secured their fourth win in a row and, more importantly, moved off the foot of the engage Super League table for the first time in four months, by beating relegation rivals Wakefield 42-24 at the JJB Stadium.
The Warriors completely dominated the opening 40 minutes thanks to a combination of scintillating play and unbelievably poor Wakefield discipline, which saw two men sent to the sin bin in the opening 25 minutes and a horribly one-sided penalty count which meant they hardly threatened Wigan with ball in hand.
Mark Calderwood grabbed two tries and Bryan Fletcher the other, with Michael Dobson booting over five goals, and the only surprise was that the half-time difference was not even greater.
Wakefield came out fired up for the second half and actually shaded it on the scoreboard but, in truth, the game was all over by the half-time hooter.
David Solomona notched a brace after the break with Colum Halpenny and Adam Watene also crossing, but further Wigan scores by man of the match Danny Orr, Nathan McAvoy and skipper Sean O?Loughlin always had the Warriors in charge.
It was all Wigan right from the early stages, with referee Ashley Klein penalising the visitors three times in kickable positions in the opening ten minutes.
Dobson missed the first kick, for a high tackle on O?Loughlin, but kicked the second for a ball steal on Iafeta Paleaaesina and the third for a late hit on Orr - an offence which earned Michael Korkidas a spell in the sin bin.
Korkidas had no sooner returned to the fray when the Wildcats were down to 12 men again, Ben Jeffries this time despatched to the cooler for a cynical professional foul on Brett Dallas.
Wigan?s Aussie winger had broken through and been superbly tackled two yards short by Halpenny but, after Halpenny eventually allowed Dallas up, Jeffries bumped into Dallas to save his team conceding another score.
The respite was brief, though, as Mickey Higham put Fletcher under the sticks in the resultant set of six, and Calderwood took a Fletcher pass three minutes later to score his side?s second try of the night and his second in successive matches.
Dobson goaled both to increase the lead to 16-0, and he also improved Calderwood?s second try on the hooter, which owed almost all to a brilliant line break by stand-off Orr.
The Wildcats desperately needed to get on the scoreboard first in the second half to get back in the game, and they did just that just three minutes in when a clever kick by Sam Obst put Watene over under the sticks and Jamie Rooney?s successful conversion made it 22-6.
All that good work was undone five minutes later, though, when Solomona was penalised for striking would-be tackler Danny Tickle, and good hands from Godwin and Scott Logan put Orr under the sticks.
Dobson?s kick made it 28-6, but the visitors hit straight back immediately when Halpenny won the race to a shot kick to score, with Rooney making no mistake with the extras.
Back came Wigan, though, and McAvoy fly-kicked a loose ball forward and won the race to touch down under the posts and again shut the door on Wakefield.
Dobson again tagged on the two points, but the Wildcats failed to kick the restart the required 10 yards which handed Wigan the position to grab their sixth try.
O?Loughlin banged the penalty deep into Wakefield territory, and seconds later took a Higham short ball at express pace to give Dobson another simple conversion.
Solomona scored two nice individual tries to give the scoreline some degree of respectability, both converted by Rooney, but the big New Zealander was largely a frustrated figure at being incapable of having the kind of galvanising effect he normally has on his side.
Dobson tagged on a late penalty to round off a fine night with the boot, nine successful kicks from the little Australian who returns to Canberra at the end of the year.
Wigan: Ashton, Calderwood, Radlinski, McAvoy, Dallas, Orr, Dobson, Paleaaesina, Higham, Fielden, Hock, Fletcher, O'Loughlin.
Replacements: Logan, Godwin, Hansen, Tickle.
Wakefield: Halpenny, White, Demetriou, Atkins, Tadulala, Rooney, Jeffries, Watene, Betham, Korkidas, Solomona, Catic, J. Field.
Replacements: Henderson, Griffin, Elima, Obst.
Referee: A Klein (London)