North West Showdown Ends In A Draw
Wigan Warriors 17 Warrington Wolves 17
By Rachel Arnett
Match Stat: Richie Myler scored his 50th try in Warrington colours
Round two of a new Super League campaign and already two giants of the game were set to go head-to-head at the DW Stadium.
Fixtures between the two north-west teams are always close-fought tussles. The last time the sides met at the DW finished with just two points separating the teams 22-20 to the visitors Warrington.
Pre-season saw the two face each other in a friendly with the Wolves securing a convincing victory but with names such as Tomkins, Richards and O'Loughlin returning to the line-up a different match-up was in store for supporters of both sides.
Warrington were on the road looking to back up their opening home win, with their opponents hoping to secure their second victory of the season and their first on home soil.
The Warrington 17 recorded only one name change from the team fielded last week with Trent Waterhouse starting, Mike Cooper in on the bench and Ben Harrison missing from round one. Similarly the Wigan side made only one key change from round one with Dudson moving off the bench into the starting 13 with Prescott out and Burke in as an interchange.
The atmosphere was electric with both sets of fans passionate about the annual fixture. Who would win this year's showdown at the DW?
Yet another tight game between the two sides ended in a draw. The lead kept shifting with exciting periods of play on show at times from both teams. Just two points separated the sides going in at half time leaving everything to play for in the second forty. The second half followed in a similar vein to the first with the game on a knife edge until the final hooter.
The game kicked off from Briers' boot deep down field with the Wolves eager to wrap up the Warriors from the kick-off.
Wolves' first set started from a scrum and strong drives forward from Hill and Westwood gained them good ground taking the side to 20 metres out after five tackles. The kick across field was collected in the air by Wigan to halt the attack but the Wolves defence responded immediately forcing a knock-on by the home side, regaining possession. The intensity of the game started to show early on as a hard-hitting tackle on Westwood ended in the same way, a knock-on handing advantage to the Warriors.
Following a free flowing period of play from the home side Joel Monaghan defused an early threat from Wigan collecting a kick on his own ten.
The first try of the game went to Warrington on 10 minutes on the back of two penalties; the first for lying on in the tackle giving the Wolves the chance to keep the ball alive down the left through Hodgson and Atkins. Wigan then conceded another penalty following a flick offload from Atkins, and another set put the Wolves over through Joel Monaghan who did well to keep in the field of play to score in the left corner. Hodgson converted 0-6.
The fortunes then changed as Warrington conceded a penalty giving the Warriors a chance to attack the line. The defence was able to wrap them up after the first period of pressure ending in a drop-out and another set to defend. This time the pace of play out to the right was one step ahead and Charnley crossed in the corner. The conversion was missed keeping the Wolves in front by two. 4-6 on 17 minutes.
The score spurred the home side on and the Wolves' defence was tested. Briers came close to an interception and a clear run to the line, but a slight deflection knocked the ball on, giving head and feed to Wigan in the scrum just past half way.
Wigan's second try came from substitute Ben Flower scoring just minutes after coming on off the bench. Following a penalty on half way for Wolves not standing square at the play the ball, Wigan piled on the pressure with quick hands and a weaving run to the line from Flower. Richards added the extras on 25 minutes 10-6.
A high shot in a set soon after gave Wolves the advantage back and a run down the wing from Rhys Evans gained good ground. Long passes from right to left were played looking to open up a gap but a knock-on resulted denying a break to the line.
As half time approached both sides were looking to keep the ball alive and a number of knocks-on resulted handing over possession to the opposition. A grubber kick from Myler came close to setting up a second Warrington try but the ball just skipped out of play.
A try soon came though when a high cross-field bomb from Briers bounced out of Wigan hands giving Wolves the attack 15metres out. Quick hands from Briers to Hodgson shifted the ball out wide to put Joel Monaghan over for his second. Hodgson's conversion attempt drifted wide levelling the score at 10-10 with two minutes until half time.
But seconds later Richards lined up a kick at goal right in front of the sticks to take the home side ahead following a high shot. The points were added 12-10 at the break.
The Wolves opened the attack in the second half gaining back-to-back penalties almost immediately for Wigan offside. Having gained good field position it didn't take long for Myler to find a gap through the defence unimpeded to slide in under the posts. Hodgson added the extras handing the lead back to the visitors. 12-16.
A high kick from Briers wasn't collected by Tomkins but Wolves reclaimed the ball from an offside position giving the attack to Wigan. The Warriors fumbled possession towards the end of the set giving advantage back to the Wolves. At the other end of the field a drive forward and offload from Riley almost put Myler over again but the defence wrapped him up this time to deny a score.
Liam Farrell was next over for the Warriors as a gap opened up in the Wolves defensive line. The field position was gained following a pair of penalties awarded for taking a player out in the air and pulling into touch. The try was given after video referee viewing. Richards missed the conversion levelling the score once again at 16-16.
On the 56 minute-mark Wigan dropped out from under the sticks and the Wolves started their attack from half way. A penalty soon followed and the Wolves advanced further through Hill and Westwood. Grix came close but was deemed held up over the line, Atkins went to within millimetres in the opposite corner moments later before Higham attempted a dummy over the line. The Wigan defence stood firm to deny the lead being taken.
As the intensity of the game grew there were a few heated moments between the teams adding to the tension with nothing separating them on the score- board as the final quarter got underway.
Despite some scrappy play by the Wolves down the middle on 68 minutes the ball was kept alive and offloaded out wide to Atkins and Riley down the left with space opening up. However, play travelled over to the right and the defence was able to defuse the ball before Joel Monaghan could take it in for his third score of the night.
Play switched ends and a Wigan kick on the last was tapped into touch by a Wolves' foot giving a scrum to the home side 30 metres out with 10 minutes on the clock. The opportunity then opened up for Smith to attempt the one-pointer and the drop goal was added taking the Warriors into a 17-16 lead.
Adding to the #extraordinaryrugby Lee Briers responded with an equalising drop goal with 3 minutes left on the clock. The ball ricocheted off the post to drop over levelling the score at 17 apiece.
What a Super League Showdown. Final Score 17 - 17.
Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, Iain Thornley, Pat Richards, Blake Green, Matty Smith, Gil Dudson, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Jack Hughes, Liam Farrell, Sean O'Loughlin
Subs: Ben Flower, Scott Taylor, Sam Powell, Greg Burke
Tries: Charnley, Flower, Farrell
Goals: Richards (2)
Drop Goal: Smith
Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan, Lee Briers, Richie Myler, Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Chris Hill, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Simon Grix
Subs: Garreth Carvell, Mike Cooper, Micky Higham, Stefan Ratchford
Tries: J Monaghan (2), Myler
Goals: Hodgson (2)
Drop Goal: Briers
Game Pics Slideshow
08, Feb, 2013