The Wigan way

Tough, uncompromising, resilient, unrelenting.

Often teams are made in the mould of their coach, and that can certainly be said of Wigan under Shaun Wane.

They are not the great entertainers, not the side of Robinson, Offiah or Edwards. But they are a powerful beast with a resolve that is hard to break. And you have to respect that.

Yesterday’s grand final was not a classic but one for the purists – tense, gripping, a display of iron-will defence against free-wheeling attack. Points were scarce but character and determination was at the forefront.

For much of the game Wigan were sloppy with loose carries, poor kicks and dropped balls, and Warrington were the same, scratch that, worse. They made 10 errors over the 80 minutes compared to the Wire’s 14.

It was the yardage game where Wigan thrived, where the likes of Sarginson, Farrell, Bateman, Gelling and Tierney ran for big metres.

Warrington had more possession and more penalties, but it was Wigan who had more line breaks and who eventually took their chances.

The Warriors made nearly 300 more metres in total than their opponents, brute strength withering down the Wire willpower.

After heartbreak at Wembley and now disappointment at Old Trafford, it’s hard not to feel for Tony Smith’s men.

Sixty-one years is a hell of a long time to wait for a title. Now it’s 62.

But they will be back, boosted by the return of Mike Cooper and experience gained by many of their young brigade – Declan Patton, the King brothers, Matty Russell, Jack Hughes and more.

Patton in particular was immense, showing age was not a barrier to performing in a big game. His show and go try in the first half was perfectly taken.

The loss of Brad Dwyer certainly hit Warrington hard. When Daryl Clark came off and Chris Sandow came on they lost some of their momentum and speed at the ruck which was causing Wigan problems.

But Saturday, and the season, was Wigan’s.

One of heavy criticism, of some low moments – who could forgot that heavy defeat at Belle Vue – and a crippling injury count.

However, one that ultimately ended in glory.

For a proud Wiganer, with a set-up built on local juniors and local pride, Wane is the perfect man to lead that club.

These players come through the system in-built with what it means to play for the Warriors. Wane drives that home, driving his charges to push themselves harder and further than they thought possible.

A never-say-die attitude to keep fighting and battling.

That’s what they did last night, a victory of will and belief.

 

 

 

 

 

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