MATCHES before a trip to Wembley are always difficult, whatever the circumstances.

As much as pre-match talk centred on all focus being on Wigan, it would be natural for minds to wander to the Challenge Cup Final. The players are only human after all.

However, St Helens showed at Leeds just how to focus on the job at hand. Warrington had a blueprint to follow.

At the DW Stadium, it was evident Wire were already looking at St Helens – particularly in the first half.

Warrington Guardian:

> Wigan 20 Wire 6 as it happened

Their brief was three pronged; get in, do the job and get out unscathed.

Unfortunately, they only completed the first part. They turned up, but not much more.

For Wire fans aiming for encouragement, they found little of it here despite an improved second-half display.

They will head to Wembley on a run of five straight league defeats, and seven losses in nine games.

When Wigan were beaten at Magic Weekend, The Wire had a 14-point cushion over their neighbours.

Now, they are level on points. Let that sink in for a second.

Warrington Guardian:

Momentum is a tired sporting buzzword and Warrington have little of it. Any hope of building some here was snuffed out in a horror show of a first half.

Two tries in as many minutes broke the game as Wigan’s extra zip and creativity saw them find holes in the Wire defence, with Bevan French in particular enjoying the space to unleash his electrifying speed.

The hosts seemed faster, stronger and more willing to put their bodies on the line than their visitors and in the end, it won them the game.

In reality, the game was pretty much gone by half-time but the very least Wolves had to do was stop the scoreline from becoming embarrassing.

They did that in a second-half showing that saw them come up with a bit of a response.

Declan Patton saw two tries fall foul of the video referee – he can probably consider himself unfortunate to see the second of those chalked off for a double movement – before Tom Lineham eventually got the consolation it can be argued their efforts deserved.

Warrington Guardian:

Joe Philbin stood up to be counted in what was one of his best games in a Warrington shirt, while Daryl Clark was once again a rare ray of quality.

Even though they showed more heart and physicality, the age-old problems in attack reared their head as they rarely looked like breaking Wigan down.

That will not have been helped by the reshuffling that needed to be done after injuries to Stefan Ratchford and Bryson Goodwin.

> Ratchford is Wire's latest injury doubt for Challenge Cup Final

With that in mind, the exact thing Steve Price wanted to avoid became a reality – The Wire left Wigan with more injuries than when they arrived.

Not only do they have to sweat over the fitness of several key players, they have a week to come up with a game plan to pull off what many believe will be a huge shock at Wembley.

Before this game, you could get odds of 7/4 on Warrington beating Saints next week. It is hard to imagine those odds will not drift after this display.

The watching Justin Holbrook will have liked what he saw.

> PHOTO GALLERY: Another grim Wire outing in pictures


. Seventh defeat in nine Super League games for Wire

. Fifth league loss in a row

. Third straight home win for Wigan over Warrington


Super League, Round 26

Friday, August 16, 2019

Wigan Warriors...20 Warrington Wolves...6

Warriors: Zak Hardaker; Bevan French, Dan Sarginson, Oliver Gildart, Liam Marshall; George Williams, Thomas Leuluai; Tony Clubb, Sam Powell, Oliver Partington, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies. Subs: Romain Navarette, Joe Greenwood, Liam Byrne, Jarrod Sammut

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Jake Mamo, Toby King, Bryson Goodwin, Tom Lineham; Declan Patton, Matty Smith; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Harvey Livett, Ben Currie, Sitaleki Akauola. Subs: Joe Philbin, Jason Clark, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ben Westwood.

Scoring: French try, 16mins, Hardaker goal, 6-0; Williams try, 18mins, Hardaker goal, 12-0; Hardaker try, 25mins, Hardaker goal, 18-0; Hardaker penalty, 53mins, 20-0; Lineham try, 72mins, Patton goal, 20-6

Penalties: Warriors 5 Wolves 8

Sin bin: Gildart (58mins, high tackle)

Referee: Ben Thaler

Attendance: 12,555