SL Report: Wigan and Warrington share spoils

Lee Briers and Matty Smith exchanged late drop goals as Wigan and Warrington fought out a pulsating 17-17 draw at the DW Stadium.

Smith had nudged Wigan in front with just eight minutes remaining, only for Briers to guide one-pointer of his own through off the post minutes later to level things up in a game which neither side deserved to lose.

Warrington might look back on a spell of pressure they had in the second half, when at 16-16, they turned down a couple of kickable penalties, but it was rugby league that was the winner in a fine spectacle in front of the SKY Sports cameras.

The Wolves drew first blood when Joel Monaghan got on the outside of Pat Richards for the first time in what was an intriguing battle between the two wingmen to touch down down the right, and Brett Hodgson‘s superb touchline conversion gave the visitors an early 6-0 lead.

It was down the Wigan right hand side that the next points came, when Josh Charnley found a bit of room, and when the Warriors kept the ball alive a few minutes later, Ben Flower took Liam Farrell‘s pass on a good angled run to shrug off a few tacklers and put the Warriors 10-6 to the good.

The main talking point of the first half came ahead of the Wolves second score, as Charnley was penalised for a knock-on, despite appearing to be tackled in the air while attemping to catch a towering bomb.

Warrington didn’t need a second invitation, and they shifted the ball right from the scrum for Monaghan to record his second try of the game.

But Wigan nudged themselves back in front on the stroke of half time, Richards converting a penalty for 12-10.

In front of a boisterous 20,050 crowd at the DW Stadium, Warrington got off to the perfect start in front of their own fans at the start of the second half, as Richie Myler danced through a number of tacklers for a fine individual score, his 50th for the club.

The lead lasted 10 minutes this time, as Wigan made use of some dummy runners to create space for Liam Farrell, who virtually had a walk in to score, although a disappointing conversion attempt from Richards left the score tied at 16-16.

It turned in to a real midfield battle in the closing stages, and Wigan’s defence stood firm after a five minute grilling from the Warrington attack, during which time they rejected the chance to kick for two.

As it was, Wigan took the lead next, when a bloodied Smith notched a drop goal.

Briers made sure Warrington earned a point with three minutes to go, and there were some half-efforts at a second drop goal by both sides, but in the end they were made to settle for a point apiece.

Elsewhere on Friday night, Hull and Bradford’s Super League encounter was postponed, after an incident on the M62 left the Bulls team coach and several Hull players stranded on the motorway. The game will now be played on Sunday (3pm).

In the Championship, Sheffield defeated Batley 13-6 in a hard-fought contest which was scoreless at half time.

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