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No place like home - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Wed, 02 Apr 2008 07:35:00 GMT
Wigan maintained their undefeated home record in Super League XIII with a narrow 8-4 victory over Wakefield thanks to a solitary try from skipper Sean O’Loughlin.

Both teams toughed it through treacherous conditions on a boggy and soggy JJB pitch.

Once again numerous penalties were awarded, most of which could have been let go to let the game flow. The penalty count was 32 at the full time hooter, a new Super League record. The game was a scrappy forward battle which the Warriors just about edged.

Wigan had the better of the first 20 minutes but it was Wakefield who took a 2-0 lead through a 26th minute Tony Martin penalty.

From the restart Wakefield would have scored the first try of the game if it wasn’t for the intervention of Wigan winger Mark Calderwood who hacked the ball over Wigan’s in goal area for a goal line drop out.

The drop out resulted in another penalty being converted by Martin, stretching the Wildcats lead to 4-0 after almost half an hour.

Martin turned from hero to villain knocking-on in front of his own try line soon after. Wigan skipper Sean O’Loughlin punished the centre’s error by barging his way over from close out.

Pat Richards added the extras to put the Warriors into a 6-4 lead after 36 minutes and that’s how it stayed until half time.

The second half panned out much the same way as the first with both sides struggling to complete sets, get the ball out wide, and be clinical in their finishing.

Wakefield had the worst possible start to the second half with substitute Jason Goldon sin binned for persistent penalising in the 41st minute.

Pat Richards got the first points of the second half with a simple penalty just to the left of the posts from 10 metres out.

Going into the final 20 minutes, the game was in the balance with Wigan ahead 8-4.

Wakefield were camped on Wigan’s line in the early stages of the final ten minutes, but the Warriors held out and made 30 successive tackles, ensuring their fourth home win of the year.

After the game, Wigan Coach Brian Noble said: “That’s our fourth game in twelve days and with the weather conditions as they were, it was never going to be pretty for either team.

“You have to take your hats off to both teams and the amount of effort they’ve put in trying to win that game.

“We defended outstandingly well in the second half but probably our ball control wasn’t as good as it should have been which made the game really tough for us.”

Commenting on the record number of penalties, Coach Noble said:

“We have to find some common ground and we have to find some common sense I feel because I think 32 penalties in a game is ruining it.”

Wakefield Coach John Kear said: “It was very tough conditions in which to play rugby league football with two highly committed teams.

“The effort and endeavour is there and when we start getting our pivotal players back I think we’ll be a good team.

“It’s one thing knowing the rules; it’s another thing knowing the game, and perhaps some education in that might be called for.”

Wakefield centre Tony Martin said: “It’s my second game back from injury so I’m just trying to get involved a bit more and trying to look after my own form.

“It was tough playing our third game in seven days, it was wet and windy and cold and it was real tough especially in the second half when the energy levels just weren’t there.”

Wigan’s try scoring skipper Sean O’Loughlin said: “We’ve picked up three from four in the last couple of weeks so that’s not too bad really.

“The weather was always going to make it a low scoring game and it was good to score a try and even more so pick up the win.”

Wakefield are hopeful that halfback pairing Danny Brough and Sam Obst along with Tevita Leo-Latu will recover from their injuries in time to train with the Wildcats this coming week.

Wigan’s Trent Barrett is expected to return from his knee injury to face World Club Champions and table toppers Leeds in round ten, where the Warriors will be hoping for four wins out of five.

Wigan Warriors 8 – Tries: O’Loughlin Goals: Richards (2) Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 4 – Tries: Goals: Martin (2) Referee: Ian Smith Attendance: 12,933 - Read More, Here