Edwards revives Wigan

London Broncos 13 Wigan 34
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The Independent Online
The Stones Super League title will not be decided until the last weekend of the league season, although it took the catalyst of that distinguished and reluctant substitute Shaun Edwards to get Wigan out of trouble last night.

Trailing to an impressive Broncos side as three-quarter time approached, Wigan's revival and eventual gallop to a win that keeps the pressure on St Helens coincided with the arrival of their captain. He might not be the dominant figure he once was, but no one yet knows more about being in the right place at the right time.

Wigan fell behind after eight minutes. Mick Cassidy, one of their seven members of the Great Britain tour squad, was penalised for holding on too long in the tackle and Greg Barwick's penalty put the Broncos ahead.

London had to work hard to keep that lead intact until midway through the first half, notably when Peter Gill won the race to a Gary Connolly kick and then young Tony Martin's immaculate tackle stopped Craig Murdock just short of the line. That second attack maintained its momentum, however, with Andy Farrell stabbing through a well-weighted kick and Henry Paul chasing through to score a try which was converted by Farrell.

Martin Offiah had a struggle before he could bring down his former team- mate Connolly to prevent the possibility of another Wigan try, but London's tackling was generally exemplary. Good handling by Gill and Kevin Langer took them up to Wigan's try-line and Martin latched on to Tony Rea's pass to beat Connolly and score the equalising try.

Barwick uncharacteristically fluffed the goal, plus a penalty when another incisive London raid caught Wigan offside, but London would still have gone in ahead at half-time had it not been for Kris Radlinski's try-saving tackle on Mark Maguire.

Wigan did not have long to wait before gaining the upper hand. Three minutes after the break, a thrust down the middle from Langer and Tulsen Tollett forced Wigan back and Martin put over a drop goal. Further evidence that Wigan's composure was slipping came when Farrell flattened Langer with a high tackle. Immediately after, Steve Barrow's swinging arm knocked the ball out of Offiah's grasp and Barwick's penalty put London further ahead.

But then Edwards, just two minutes after being introduced into the action, backed up Cassidy's break and Wigan were back in the lead. Farrell added the goal points to that try, as he did when Paul skipped out of a series of lunging tackles to lift the tension from Wigan. Martin's fumble then lured London offside for Farrell to add a further two points and Jason Robinson found a gap to give Wigan an even more flattering margin.

Andy Johnson's try from Robinson's darting run made it 22 points in 14 blistering minutes from Wigan, although Offiah had the consolation of a try against his former club.

London Broncos: Martin; Maguire, Barwick, Krause, Offiah; Tollett, Langer; Allen, Rea, Mestrov, Rosolen, Shaw, Gill. Subs used: Strutton, Bawden, Pitt, Dynevor.

Wigan: Radlinski; Ellison, Connolly, Tuigamala, Robinson; Paul, Murdock; Cowie, Hall, O'Connor, Haughton, Cassidy, Farrell.

Subs used: Edwards, Barrow, Johnson. Not used: Cardiss.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).

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