IT took an hour for Wolves to break down their visitors’ resolve, yet it was a Wigan mistake which gifted an uninventive Warrington side their only four points in Super League Round 6.
Gene Ormsby intercepted Matty Bowen’s pass and ate up 60 metres to cross with Wolves otherwise failing to create genuine scoring opportunities of their own making.
Stefan Racthford’s conversion summed up Tony Smith’s side’s performance; the full back pulling his kick wide when the extras would have put Wolves within a converted score of levelling.
It was a display to consolidate fears of those fans who were calling for Warrington to invest in a match-winner during the off season.
Smith praised Wolves’ physicality in defence, but his side lacked creativity and the spark to open up last season’s Grand Final champions - albeit a young Wigan side missing the guile and expertise of their two most influential players, Sean O’Loughlin and Michael McIlorum.
And Shaun Wane’s team had conceded at least 20 points per game this campaign.
That included against strugglers Hull KR last time out, with their success coming on the flanks but Wolves appeared to focus their attention on attacking Warriors down the middle.
Highlighting some disorganisation when Wolves managed to survive a couple of tackles without making an error, on two occasions dummy runners caused obstructions and gifted Wigan further opportunity to dominate possession and territory.
Liam Farrell’s try, converted by Matty Smith, had given Wigan the lead and they twice crossed to no avail – John Bateman held up by Ryan Atkins and Iain Thornley collecting a forward pass – by the time Richie Myler overhit a grubber kick.
The wet conditions no doubt contributed when James Laithwaite fumbled Racthford’s pass in a promising position and as Ormsby dropped a high kick, but the referee had already awarded the visitors a penalty, slotted by Smith.
Blake Green’s score increased Wigan’s lead to 12 points following the break after Eddy Pettybourne and Farrell combined to find the 2013 Grand Final man-of-the-match.
Ormsby’s response gave Wolves hope of what previously seemed an unlikely comeback.
It was not to be, and, although the arrival of Scotland international Matty Russell added pace and invention, dropped balls from Ratchford and Chris Bridge put paid to further scores.
Lowest Wolves points total in a match since 22-2 home loss to Salford in September 2002
Gene Ormsby has scored tries in three successive matches
Lowest attendance for home match versus Wigan since the 10,718 turnout in 2009
Least amount of points Wigan have conceded in a Super League match since beating Widnes 62-4 in March 2013
Only Wigan’s second Super League win at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, the first being in 2010
Wigan’s first Super League win in eight attempts against Wolves
Super League Round 5 Thursday, March 20, 2014
Warrington Wolves 4 Wigan Warriors 12
Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Gene Ormsby; Gareth O’Brien, Richie Myler; Chris Hill, Micky Higham, Roy Asotasi, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Simon Grix. Subs: James Laithwaite, Glenn Riley, Matty Russell, Michael Monaghan.
Warriors: Matty Bowen; Josh Charnley, Daniel Goulding, Iain Thornley, Joe Burgess; Blake Green, Matty Smith; Scott Taylor, Logan Tomkins, Dominic Crosby, John Bateman, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower. Subs: Jack Hughes, Eddy Pettybourne, Tony Clubb, George Williams.
Scoring: Farrell try, 11mins, 0-4; Smith goal, 0-6; Smith goal, 39mins 0-8; Green try, 50mins 0-12; Ormsby try, 60mins, 4-12.
Referee: Phil Bentham
Penalties: Wolves 8 Warriors 7
Top Man: Ben Westwood
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