Wigan edge their way clear

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wigan eventually seized the unexpected chance to go back to the top of Super League presented by St Helens' astonishing defeat by Wakefield, but it took two late tries from Kris Radlinski to salvage anything from a lack-lustre performance.

Wigan eventually seized the unexpected chance to go back to the top of Super League presented by St Helens' astonishing defeat by Wakefield, but it took two late tries from Kris Radlinski to salvage anything from a lack-lustre performance.

Wigan trailed until their Great Britain full-back struck in the 63rd and 69th minute of a desperately untidy encounter last night, but ultimately it will be the two points rather than the quality of the rugby that count.

Halifax dominated the opening quarter and could easily have gone ahead when Daryl Cardiss just failed to touch down from Greg Florimo's early kick. They did take the lead that their superiority merited when Martin Moana weaved his way through a groping Wigan defence; Jamie Bloem added the conversion and later a penalty.

Wigan were not producing anything like the fluent rugby they are capable of and it took a turning of the tide of penalties in their direction to start bringing the game back their way.

Andy Farrell put over one kick and, after Damien Gibson and Tony Smith had been sent to the sin-bin for their part in a fracas that involved most of the 26 players at some stage, landed a second that further reduced the visitors' half-time lead.

A messy second half always looked likely to hinge on a close call or a little good fortune. The try that put Wigan ahead involved a bit of each. Tony Smith was adjudged marginally on-side as he chased a clever kick from Terry Newton. He could not pick it up, but it skidded kindly for Radlinski, who touched down to allow Farrell to kick Wigan in front.

Six minutes later, Radlinski, playing in the centre because of a first-half injury to Gary Connolly, was there again to finish off an attack initiated by Jason Robinson and Steve Renouf. Farrell was on target again and suddenly Wigan had a deceptively comfortable lead.

It was all over in the 73rd minute when Newton arrived in support of Renouf's break to take the pass and go over. Halifax heads were down and Paul Rowley's late effort was scant consolation.

Wigan: Radlinski; Davies, Renouf, Connolly, Robinson, Farrell, T Smith, O'Connor, M Smith, Cowie, Cassidy, Betts, Gilmour. Substitutes used: Mestrov, Malam, Newton, Hodgson.

Halifax: Cardiss; Marns, Gibson, Florimoro, Golden, Moana, Dunemann, Goldspink, Rowley, Gannon, Mercer, Tickle, Bloem. Substitutes used: Tallec, Holgate, Hassan, Roberts.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

Comments