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  1. I think the fact that I forgot about Luke Davico is enough proof that he should have been the 1st name on this team sheet.
  2. The club will obviously be hoping it's a shrewd signing. There are players who weren't rated in the NRL but did okay in Super League. Just look at Blake Green. He's one of the best signings Wigan have made in the last 10 years but had he not joined Hull KR his career could have been very different. I'm happy to see how he goes. Harry Smith is a good young half but not the most direct. We still have Josh Woods on the books but he's similar to Smith in how he plays the game. Jake Shorrocks hasn't really cut it in the first team, so I'd say it's worth the risk to bring in a pacey and direct half from overseas as he offers something we don't have in the academy and could be hard to find for the right price in Super League.
  3. Here's my attempt for Wigan from the Super League era; FB - Michael Withers W - Jon Whittle C - Nathan McAvoy C - Liam Botham W - Dwayne West SO - Julian O'Neil SH - Willie Peters P - Ben Cross H - Shane Millard P - Wayne McDonald SR - Tim Jonkers SR - Oliver Wilkes LF - Andy Powell (former Wales RU international) Bench: Danny Hill Larne Patrick Jordan James Mark Reber 18th Man : Shem Tatupu
  4. The positive tests are one of the coaching staff and two support staff I believe. I would assume that whichever member of the coaching staff tested positive is likely to have had close contact with quite a few players, if not all of them potentially. The club aren't currently allowed to train until the results of the next test. The tests will be done tomorrow which means the results will presumably be available on Friday. They can't play Catalans if they aren't allowed to train.
  5. I'm pretty sure the postponement isn't due to the number of positive results but the fact that players will have to be tested again and those results will probably only be available immediately before tomorrow's game was scheduled. Catalans would have to pay for their flights without knowing if the game could go ahead or not.
  6. I don't think Wire were great, and they messed up a few good chances. They had a huge territorial advantage in the first half and didn't make the most of it and that must be frustrating for them. It was a similar situation for Wigan - just like the Leeds game we were being penned in our own half most of the time. The difference, mostly coming in the second half, was that we actually decided to attack from deep. That seems to be where we're most dangerous. It's how we managed to beat Catalans when their big pack was storming down the middle, it's how we beat Leeds in the league when their pack was on top. It's frustrating that Lam seems to be going for a small pack down the middle, but if that's the way he wants to go then we need to be getting the ball wide and attack. A big difference for me was the injuries to our outside backs meant Isa at centre and that in turn meant Farrell played on the left edge for the whole game. It's been driving me crazy that Lam was moving him to the middle of the field after 20 to bring on Greenwood and keeping him there for the rest of games. He's so dangerous out wide that it's madness not to play him there. One of the best things about him is that his fitness levels are so good that when teams are tiring he's so full of running. I've no idea if anyone keeps any stats on these things but I'm willing to bet Farrell's try scoring record in the last 20 minutes of games will be very impressive. He's just so full of running that he can get on the outside of a tired defender and run that crucial line. Credit also must go to Harry Smith. It was a smart pass but he'd been having a positive impact on play as soon as he came on. His kicking game is much better than Hastings or Leuluai and he reads the game well. We need to see more of him.
  7. The frustrating thing from a Wigan point of view is that it wasn't an awful performance from us, we were just outplayed. We didn't defend that badly, we defended well at times, but inevitably cracked under the weight of pressure from a Leeds side that completed sets well and didn't make too many errors. We weren't making errors all over the place in attack, we just couldn't punch any holes down the middle so played pretty much the entire game on the back foot, while Leeds dominated with their carries. In the Super League game where we beat them Leeds were dominant in the pack, made lots of metres down the middle of the field, but Wigan soaked up the pressure and then almost counter attacked - hitting them with a quick try after all that pressure. We've done that against quite a few sides this year. In these conditions we didn't seem to chance our arm. We didn't want to get expansive in attack and given the conditions you can probably see why. Ultimately though I don't think you can blame the Wigan pack for not making the yards. We don't really have any strong carriers in the side except Bullock, who was okay but pretty much all Leeds had to cope with. Havard is a smart ball carrier and can make a difference but was off after 20 minutes. Ultimately though this is just what you get from Wigan. Farrell, Isa, Shorrocks, Partington - they aren't blockbusting runners who can storm down the middle, so if Wigan try to play a tight game and match the other team it almost inevitably fails. See the Playoff Semi Final against Salford as evidence. A tight must win game that was played mostly down the middle and we were completely outplayed. Leeds played the conditions perfectly, are far more dominant down the middle, and just put us under pressure and didn't let go. The only player we could bring off the bench to try to chance things was Smith. In those conditions it seems an oversight not to bring him on sooner but I doubt it would have made that much of a difference. We just had no forward dominance to match Leeds who were by far the better team.
  8. Tough game for the Wigan youngsters but they didn't let themselves down. I expected Saints to run away with it from the start but there was a decent period of that game where the scores were close and that was basically through them taking advantage of having an extra man. Ben Kilner impressed me. He's had to wait a while for his chance given the number of good young forwards we have at the club but I think he's pushed himself ahead of the likes of Clark and Byrne with that performance. Ran the ball well and was really keen in defence. Our young back rowers were good too. Harry Rushton might not have caught the eye with ball in hand but I thought he defended superbly against Zeb Taia, who is one of the best back row forwards in Super League. Kai Pearce-Paul looked a threat when he came on. The way he always looks for an offload is a promising sign that we could have a decent ball player on our hands. Jack Wells was doing well too until his injury. It's a real shame for the lad as he missed all of last year with an ankle injury and had just forced his way back into the reckoning. A really good player on his day who deserves better luck. Not outraged by the tackle that injured him as it wasn't deliberate but you'd expect a ban for that given what's come before. Smithies rightly got a lengthy ban for an accidental crusher on James Clare because he was careless and caused injury. Ben Flower got 2 games for taking his feet off the floor for 0.5 seconds before sliding down to complete a tackle in our game against Hull KR which caused no injury and puzzled many people. So Walmsley putting his shoulder into Wells' standing leg below the knee and causing an injury is surely more than a 2 game suspension. He's not done it deliberately but accidental foul play is being punished more severely. He shouldn't be making contact below the knee as 3rd tackler. Wigan have had plenty correctly banned for doing that and Walmsley should too. I was impressed with Hanley despite a couple of errors. He was really peppered with high kicks which was to be expected given Saints dominated possession but didn't tear us apart until late on. Even experienced fullbacks drop them under that kind of pressure so I can't be too critical. He did well returning the ball and looked like he's got lots to offer. While it was a day when the youngsters rightly receive a lot of praise I thought the importance of experience showed by how well we defended when Ben Flower was on the field. He got himself in the right place at the right time to make tackles and Saints didn't threaten as much when he was around to snuff out anything that hinted at a break. As soon as he left the field Saints picked off some weaknesses in our defence - particularly Byrne and Clark - and the points started racking up. We've got some really good young players but there's still the need for an old head. It's never good to be beaten in a derby but the youngsters gave a good account of themselves, especially since many of them haven't played in 6 months.
  9. I'm leaning towards a Hull win in this one. They've got a very good pack of forwards and they've probably been the biggest underachievers so far this year but look to be coming into some form now. I think it's pretty much nailed on that they'll be very dominant in the forwards. Wigan will probably be hoping for an energetic defensive display similar to the Catalans game and looking to be clinical with any attacking opportunities. We've only got 3 props in the squad and one of those is Mitch Clark who couldn't even get picked ahead of an injured Burgess last week. Clark may get a chance to redeem himself but Lam could also give an opportunity to Jack Wells or Harry Rushton instead. I think the power of Hull's forwards will be the difference in this one.
  10. It was one of the best Wigan performances of the season. While it's true that Catalans may have been affected by the enforced isolation period there were times where they had so much sustained pressure and it would have been understandable if Wigan had cracked. Instead Wigan responded with good sets and clinical passing that created tries. The Catalans forwards looked dominant down the middle for a lot of the game but that was only to be expected. Sam Powell was the best player on the field and I think one of the big differences between the sides was Wigan having the intelligent play of Powell whereas Da Costa was poor for Catalans. With Burgess only capable of playing about 10 minutes because of his hip injury and Bullock going off after his first spell with a suspected broken hand, Wigan lacked big, powerful, hard driving forwards in the middle but credit must go to the smaller forwards who toughed it out. Havard was strong, Partington worked tirelessly. Farrell ended up playing about 60 minutes down the middle and aided the defence massively. I also think Joe Shorrocks deserves a lot of credit. He's a lightweight back rower who ended up playing at prop and his defending made a big difference. Catalans can play a lot better without a doubt and I'm sure they'll bounce back. Wigan will find it tough next week though I'm sure.
  11. Catalans have a few players missing which may make Wigan's job easier. We're missing Smithies, Byrne and Flower from the pack but should have enough in-form players and experienced forwards to make up for their absence. So far this season we've only played one of the teams above us, which was Wire in the first game of the season, so it's hard to know what to expect from us in what you would consider only our second 'big game' of the season. We've been average throughout the majority of the season, occasionally poor, and on very rare occasions impressive. It's possible that we could be capable of raising our performance for a big game. It wouldn't be the first time a team in any sport has looked underwhelming, lost against perceived weaker sides only to perform against tougher opposition. At the same time, this could also be a reality check if we play as poorly as we have at times since lockdown and Catalans got on the sort of free-scoring roll they've shown they're capable of. The return of Havard and Bullock should make a big difference. What O'Loughlin and potentially George Burgess can offer if they return to the side remains to be seen.
  12. I think Phil Clarke would probably do a better job than Mitch Clark right now.
  13. Full credit to Rovers, that was a very good attacking performance. They played with flair without the errors. The took calculated risks with their passing and offloads rather than playing recklessly and it's paid off. The changes Lam made to the side certainly didn't help, and I think it's taught him a thing or two about Wigan's strength in the middles, or lack of. He rested Havard and Bullock, our only props who are consistent metre makers. They made over 250m between them against Cas and they were also our top tacklers. Without them we were lacking any sort of dominance down the middle. That could have been foreseen. Havard and Bullock were also our best defenders against Cas and it showed with our defence suffering too. What Rovers did so well is target our weak points. The main one early on was Liam Byrne. His defence has always been a bit suspect, but generally we have players who can cover it. Tonight Jez Litten caused him so many problems and as soon as we went behind we were in trouble because our bench was lacking anyone with the capability to change the game. Byrne defended poorly, Clark was just awful and a liability, Partington, Flower and Shorrocks defend really well but are small forwards who can't punch holes going forward. All of that pointed to a game where we desperately had to get an early lead and keep hold of it because we didn't have the players capable of chasing it. We've always had an issue playing against sides that like to offload and that was the case once again. There's a real focus at Wigan of slowing down the ruck and sometimes that means we hold players up in the tackle and allow them the opportunity to offload rather than bringing them down quickly. Kane Linnett was excellent down the left and caused our right edge so many problems. There's a bit of defensive weakness in Harry Smith that was exploited a little, but the biggest problem seemed to be Dom Manfredi, whose defensive reads were all over the place and directly led to at least two tries. You can't underestimate Rovers but ultimately with the changes Lam made it looks like he did and we've paid the price. Nothing for Wigan fans to worry about just yet, as we'll get our best props back for the next game, but it shows we've got to be really careful when rotating players, and maybe there are one or two positions that do require changes to be made.
  14. It's hard to see how it's really going to be workable. If you live in an old narrow terrace, likely part of several rows of similar terraces, on narrow streets, banning parking on the pavements would mean half the street having to find somewhere away from their house to park their cars. Nothing wrong with a bit of exercise of course, but you're then clogging up other streets with cars. They will probably be bigger streets and also busier streets and you're possibly going to cause a hazard for pedestrians trying to cross in between rows of parked cars. On the other hand, I live next door to someone who has used a wheelchair all their life. It's pretty unfair for them to be unable to use the pavements because someone has parked across them. Despite sympathising with those on narrow streets I do tend to think it should be perfectly legal to walk over the top of a car if it's parked on the pavement. Where I live pretty much every house has a garage and a driveway and yet some people still park all the way across the pavement.
  15. I hope he learns from this and plays smarter in the future. I know that as a smaller forward it helps to be aggressive but there's obviously a line that shouldn't be crossed. Bateman looked like he could fall foul of letting his aggression get the best of him when he was the same age. A few years later and he's likely to be a captaincy candidate next season. He's a very talented player is Smithies, but no Wigan fan is too worried about him not being available for selection for a few weeks. We've got plenty of competition for places in his position so if he continues to fall foul of the disciplinary committee he could lose his place and I'm sure he's aware of that.
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