After last night’s defeat at Wakefield Trinity, it’s three loses in a row for Shaun Wane’s Wigan Warriors but – what struck many viewers and supporters was just how poor the performance was.
Barring the last ten minutes which saw Wane’s charges cross for two quickfire tries to close the gap and give them a chance of winning, it was a toothless display from those in the cherry and white. Is it as straightforward as saying that it is the recent news of Wane’s resignation has affected performances? Possibly – a lot of the players featuring for the club has been coached almost solely by Wane. Understandably, then, the news would have had an emotional impact – the former academy boss has been with the Warriors for around three decades on and off the field.
What was painfully evident last night was the indiscipline shown by the Warriors – Thomas Leuluai was sin-binned, again, for a tackle off the ball which looked worse on each replay while two penalties were given against Wigan for showing dissent with Tony Clubb and Sam Tomkins the guilty parties. Well done, by the way, to James Child for being one of few officials clamping down on backchat and complaining. All too often in Thursday night’s match, Trinity were able to make easy yards up the pitch to put their visitors to the sword and record a deserved win. One startling statistic that was posted on twitter showed that Wigan hadn’t scored a try for three hours of rugby league, including the majority of their defeat at Hull KR, nilling at Warrington and failing to score before Gabe Hamlin’s score last night.
With a team including the class of Tomkins and Williams to name just two, the Warriors shouldn’t ever be doing that yet they just haven’t seemed to click. Has the recent emergence of the now well-known Tomkins brothers bar rant affected the full-back and his team-mates? Possibly. However, that has been dealt with by the club and the players should be able to focus on what is happening on the pitch, doing what they are paid to do – play rugby and play it well.
Their chasing down of St Helens hit hard by the three consecutive losses, Wigan now have an unenviable sequence of facing Hull FC and Castleford away before two home matches against Leeds and Warrington. If Wane’s men don’t recover fast from their poor recent form, Wigan could find themselves not only further off the pace of the league leaders but in a fight to make Super League’s top four. What part Wane himself has played in the poor showings is unknown – has his intensity gone? Who knows but, if it has, he needs to rediscover it and fast.