TOWARDS the end of the first half, a grim sense of inevitability seemed to sweep over the DW Stadium just as the Friday evening rain had done.

At that point, Warrington Wolves had done most things right – they had continued with the progress they made against St Helens and it looked like earning them a deserved half-time lead.

They ran hard, won rucks and generally displayed the basic essentials needed to win a game of rugby league – the kind of things that should be a given but have been anything but lately.

Once Wigan broke through their right edge – not for the first time – to send Bevan French over to equalise, the result only seemed like going one way.

There can, of course, be mitigation found in the players Wire had missing and given the amount of square pegs in round holes again, adopting the kind of simplified game plan they did was understandable.

The trouble with that, however, was that when they needed to force the issue having fallen behind, there was not enough creativity to prise open a now-organised home defence barring the odd moment.

We will never know how much impact holding onto their half-time lead would have had on Daryl Powell’s men, but going in level seemed to take all of the air out of their balloon and they never really recovered.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing as well was that Wigan barely seemed to get out of second gear, but it was more than enough to earn the two points on the night.

They put their toe on the throttle in the 10 minutes after half time to get themselves into a decisive lead and backed themselves to defend it out, in the knowledge that Wire had pretty much played their hand.

And so having made a step forward against St Helens, this felt like a step backwards for Powell and his players as they look to dig themselves out of the hole they find themselves in.

A fifth straight defeat means that, in terms of consecutive losses at least, things are as bad as they got during the horrors of 2022.

Given that has come so soon after they recorded their best ever start to a Super League season, it is little wonder people are so frustrated with the wild inconsistency of it all.

Moving forward, they now have a fortnight to iron out the considerable amount of kinks in their game ahead of the critical eight-game run-in on the other side.

With players due to return immediately after the break to boost the squad to pretty much full availability, there will be no more room for excuses.