6 conclusions from Wigan Warriors’ win over Leigh Leopards: Injury concerns, promising playmakers

Drew Darbyshire
Bevan French Wigan Warriors Alamy

Wigan Warriors strengthened their position at the top of the Super League table with thanks to a 24-6 win over Leigh Leopards.

The Warriors, who currently hold all four trophies available to them, have extended their winning streak to nine games in a row, whilst Leigh remain seven points adrift of the play-offs.

Love Rugby League was in attendance at The Brick Community Stadium: here’s the big takeaways from the night.

Wigan prop fails HIA

The Warriors were dealt a blow in the opening minutes when they lost veteran prop Mike Cooper to a head injury assessment, which he failed, and therefore was unable to return. He took a nasty looking knock when tackling Leigh prop Robbie Mulhern, so here’s hoping it’s nothing too serious for Cooper and that he has a strong and speedy recovery.

Leigh’s wait for a win at Wigan goes on

Leigh’s search for a win across the borough at Wigan goes on, with their last away victory against their local rivals coming in August 1983, in what was a 26-12 victory in the Slalom Lager Championship at Central Park.

And without trying to rub salt in the wound of the Leopards, Wigan have won their last 13 home meetings with Leigh.

Charnley blow

The Leopards suffered an injury blow of their own when winger Josh Charnley was forced to leave the action late on in the first half. He took a carry out of yardage but went back down to the ground and ultimately left the action and didn’t return. Charnley has been in fine form for Leigh this season so coach Lam will be hoping it is just a minor knock.

Nervy disciplinary awaits

There were two yellow cards shown in the game: one for Leigh’s Robbie Mulhern and Brad O’Neill for Wigan, with both incidents occurring in the first half.

Mulhern was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Kaide Ellis, whilst O’Neill was sent for 10 for a tip tackle on Mulhern.

It’ll be a nervy wait until the match review panel on Monday for both clubs, with Mulhern and O’Neill both key players for their respective sides.

A new halfback pairing for Wigan

We got to see a glimpse of Wigan’s future halfback pairing, perhaps? England international Harry Smith and 18-year-old Jack Farrimond started alongside each other for the first time.

Smith is one of Super League’s premiere playmakers for several years now, and his in-game kicking is impeccable, whilst Farrimond is highly regarded as one of the best young talents in the British game right now. It wasn’t a 10 out of 10 showing from the duo as a pair, which was expected given it’s their first time, but they showed glimpses of their ability and did with the ball in hand against a physical Leigh side. Wigan fans will be excited about what’s to come from the two academy products in the coming years.

Elsewhere in the spine, Bevan French was just magic, as per. O’Neill delivered a mammoth shift at nine.

A proper derby

It has been dubbed the ‘Battle of the Borough’ in marketing campaigns by both clubs over the years, and with the feel of the atmosphere at the Brick Community Stadium on Friday night, you suspect this is becoming a key and big fixture in the calendar for both sets of supporters., with 16,053 in attendance.

And on the field, it was played like a proper derby, too. There were plenty of big hits, tempers flared on a number of occasions, cards were shown and it was a war of attrition. The entertainment value was there, for sure.

READ NEXT: Leigh Leopards coach profiles new signing David Armstrong, likened to Wigan Warriors duo