Riley rallies Wolves to deepen Wigan agony

Warrington 16 Wigan 8
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Second-half tries from Chris Riley and Michael Monaghan earned improving Warrington a victory that maintained Wigan’s woeful record of never winning at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The visitors had the better of a messy game early on, but lost their way as it progressed to allow the Wolves to draw level with them on points just outside the play-off places. “Apart from the first eight minutes, I thought we were pretty dominant,” said their coach, Tony Smith.

Wigan were forced into a series of late changes through injuries to George Carmont and Phil Bailey, as well as Tim Smith flying home to Australia because of a family illness. The resulting reshuffle did not seem to affect them too badly as they monopolised early possession, right from the moment Pat Richards’ kick off was allowed to bounce dead.

The pressure paid off when Sam Tomkins, one of those drafted in, threaded through a kick and Cameron Phelps won the race to dive on the loose ball.

Joel Tomkins and Amos Roberts both had tries disallowed before Warrington got the ball in their hands and the home side came only gradually into the game. Wigan mistakes gave them plenty of invitations, but a combination of stubborn defence and poor execution kept the Wolves from the door until five minutes before half-time. Matt King had twice failed to capitalise on Lee Briers’ kicks to his wing, but it was third time lucky when he plucked one out of the air for his side’s first points, although Chris Bridge’s missed conversion left Wigan two in front at the break.

As the game continued in its error-ridden way, Richards edged Wigan further in front with his second goal after Vinnie Anderson had been penalised. Penalties also played a big part in Warrington’s riposte – two of them, conceded in quick succession by Andy Coley and Stuart Fielden.

“I was disappointed with the penalty count,” said Wigan’s Brian Noble. “A noisy home crowd had something to do with that.” From the second of the awards, the Wolves moved the ball wide, Mathers came into the line to make the extra man and Riley scored in the corner with Bridge adding a difficult conversion.

That gave them a narrow advantage that began to look like a match-winning one when Monaghan’s run saw him spin out of two tackles for another converted try.

Warrington: Mathers; Riley, Grix, Bridge, King; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Carvell, Westwood, L Anderson, |V Anderson. Substitutes used: Higham, Wood, Rauhihi, Harrison.

Wigan: Richards; Roberts, Gleeson, Phelps, Ainscough; S.Tomkins, Leuluai; Fielden, McIlorum, Coley, Hock, J Tomkins, O’Loughlin. Substitutes used: Paleaaesina, Riddell, Prescott, Hansen.

Referee: B.Thaler (Wakefield)