THE latest chapter in the Warrington versus Wigan rivalry had the usual intensity and passion, without ever looking like reaching the heights of the matches in recent years.
Defences had all the aggression you would expect and there was no doubting the commitment on display, but both sides were lacking in the attacking fluency required to turn the match into a classic.
Wigan are in a similar position to Wire having lost some excellent, experienced players since last season and they are looking to repeat recent success with some different and younger personnel.
Wet conditions certainly weren’t conducive to extravagant attacking play, but it was Wigan who looked the more likely to make breaks, especially when they moved the ball out wide.
Two such breaks were how both their tries came about, one in each half, with second rower Liam Farrell involved in both, supporting one break out wide to score the opening try, then making the break that led to Blake Green’s try in the second half that put Wigan into a 12-0 lead.
Generally Wire’s defence was as good as it’s been for a while, but in attack there is still a distinct lack of cohesion and confidence, whilst the kicking game continues to be erratic.
Near to their opponent’s line Wire look slightly hesitant, as if they’re not sure what the plan is and how best to turn territory into tries.
Obviously this is highlighted against the strong defences of the top teams. It was entirely fitting in this game that Wire’s only try came when they were defending, Ormsby scoring an excellent interception try.
A strong defence and great spirit can get you a long way, if they can add some composure and quality in attack then Wire will have a great chance of becoming champions.
Last season was predictable, as if we were reading the same story as the year before, hoping for a different ending.
This year each match looks likely to add to the story of this team as it unfolds in a manner we can’t predict.
It still feels like the first-choice 17 is far from settled, some pieces of the jigsaw might be swapped around before we get the final picture.
Definitely a work in progress, but a year is a long time in Super League and the play-offs system means there is no rush to become a champion side.