Warriors well on top despite mystery try

Catalan Dragons 14 Wigan Warriors 36: Wigan see off challenge from Dragons to maintain their Super League lead

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wigan maintained their lead at the top of the Super League with a win over a rugged Catalan side in Montpellier. However, the result was much closer than the scoreline suggests as time and again the home side were on the wrong end of baffling refereeing decisions.

The main bone of contention came just before half-time when Wigan's Josh Charnley was given a try despite his elbow being in touch, the referee, James Child, declining to check with the video referee.

After last weekend's defeat at Salford, this was a much better performance by the Dragons, who took an early lead through a Scott Dureau penalty. But there were still signs that the home side are not at their best when, with Gil Dudson in the sin-bin for a late challenge, Wigan managed to score two tries. Charnley converted one of them to give the Warriors a 10-2 lead.

The video referee was needed in the 18th minute when he awarded a penalty try to the Catalans after Michael McIlorum tackled Clint Greenshields just before the line without the ball. Dureau added the conversion to reduce the arrears to 10-8. Then came Charnley's disputed try.

Six minutes after half-time Charnley extended the Warriors' lead with a penalty from in front of the posts. Wigan went further ahead four minutes later with a superb try that involved Sean O'Loughlin, Jeff Lima, McIlorum and Brett Finch before the ball found its way to George Carmont to score his first of the afternoon. Again Charnley failed to convert. On the hour Carmont scored another to the left of the posts but Charnley again missed the conversion.

Dureau narrowed the deficit with a quick tap penalty that caught the Wigan defence napping as he raced in from 60 metres out to score under the posts. He quickly converted his own try to narrow the gap to 10 points with 10 minutes remaining.

However, Wigan finished the stronger and late tries from Sam Tomkins and Jack Hughes extended their advantage. Tomkins took over the kicking from Charnley and converted both efforts to secure the win.

It was not all good news for Wigan, however. Finch, who has so impressed at stand-off since he joined the Warriors from Melbourne Storm, has decided not to renew his contract and will return home to Australia at the end of his two-year contract, which expires when the current season finishes.

"There are a number of options back home that I find attractive and my life after footy needs to be given consideration,'' said the 30-year-old. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in England and to play for a club like Wigan has been a dream."