AFTER a couple of steps forward, this felt like a massive leap back towards the dark times.

It was almost as if you could see the habits Warrington Wolves displayed frequently during their losing run reaching out to drag them back into the abyss.

And in the end, those Wire fans who stayed inside The Halliwell Jones Stadium until the bitter end were subjected to a form of slow torture – the game long gone but having to be played to a finish.

This was always going to be a truer test of where they were at than the past three games and as it turns out, they remain nowhere near where they need to be.

In the most basic sense, Wigan were too big and too fast for Wire to handle.

They have one of the competition’s bigger packs and not many can match them for size, but it illustrated just how outgunned Warrington are physically than the top sides.

Time and time again, the Warriors ploughed through the middle to open up the space for the likes of Jai Field and Bevan French to wreak havoc.

On that front, it was a case of one after the other as when Field withdrew at half-time with three try assists to his name, French slotted in seamlessly. Wire can only dream of such problems at the moment.

Poor starts were made to each half – a six-again and then a penalty conceded in the first two sets leading to Wigan’s first try set the tone for a truly miserable evening.

Such were the frighteners put on them without the ball, Wire looked like conceding every time Wigan entered their half before the break and while they may have held some hope of a comeback when the second half began, a quick double punch finished the game as a contest.

The gap between themselves and the big guns is a huge one. Can it be bridged within this season? It’s looking increasingly difficult to argue the affirmative.

As the derogatory chants rained down from the away end, one can only hope all of those in primrose and blue took a minute to take them in and ask themselves if this was how they wanted the rest of their season to go.

Do they really want to be laughed at and derided everywhere they go?

If the answer is yes, they should do exactly the things that cost them tonight. If the answer is no, they know what to do.