Wigan 10-18 Catalans: Five takeaways as Dragons continue unbeaten run over disappointing Warriors

Josh McAllister
Wigan v Catalans, Super League. SW Pix

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Catalans continued their winning start to the Super League season with a 18-10 victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium in freezing conditions. 

The Warriors last tasted defeat against the Dragons at DW Stadium on back in April 2011.

Manu Ma’u scored a try on either side of half-time, while he was joined on the scoresheet by team-mate Arthur Romano.

It was a disappointing evening for the home fans, with their side only managing to cross for one try through Harry Smith.

Here are our five takeaways…

Catalans continue unbeaten run

Catalans remain unbeaten so far in 2023 with four wins from four following the victory.

They have so far defeated Wakefield, Leigh, Hull and the Warriors and will return to France on top of the Super League table.

Year of the Dragon?

We’ve got to talk about the weather

The weather definitely player its part – on and off the field. Just four tries were scored all night, while an attendance of 11,451 braved the cold conditions.

Wigan also promoted an offer in the lead up to the clash, with season ticket holders offered a free ticket to bring a friend.

Fair play to Catalans, as I think I would have asked the plane to return to France upon landing in England.

And credit to those attending supporters, with snow falling throughout the fixture.

Wigan’s first half worries

Wigan appear to be starting their games slowly and struggled with their disciplinary in the first half across the field, and looked clunky in attack throughout.

Morgan Smithies was guilty for two of those penalties, while another allowed Keighran to convert for two more points for a 12-0 lead at the time.

Wigan also struggled with their disciplinary in the opening round against Hull KR, and it was almost the same feeling as last week’s game against Castleford at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle. An attacking team with plenty of flair under Matt Peet, the head coach will definitely want to see improvements in his side in weeks to come.

Keighran takes to Super League

Adam Keighran is impressing early on in his debut year in the Super League competition. The 25-year-old former NRL man has already showed his versatility, having played both in the halves and in the centres in the first four rounds.

The Sydney-born outside-back crossed for his first Catalans try in the 38-6 home victory over Hull and assisted a further four more so far this season. He has also kicked 15 goals.

He kicked three of those against Wigan and assisted Romano’s try in the first half.

Baby Dracs step up

Steve McNamara was without star players Mitchell Pearce, Fouad Yaha, Siosiua Taukeiaho, Sam Tomkins and Matt Whitley. 

However, the young players stood up in their absence. Romano, Paul Seguier all impressing, while Tiaki Chan and Ugo Tison featured from the bench.

He might not be that young anymore, but France captain Ben Garcia also always delivers.

How it happened

  • 6′ It’s the visitors with the early pressure in the cold conditions and Manu Ma’u powers his way over close to the line. Adam Keighran converts. (0-6)
  • 20′ Not much happening for either sides. The weather definitely playing its part in that. (0-6)
  • 29′ Keighran extends the lead through a penalty goal. (0-8)
  • 32′ Arthur Romano crosses in the left corner untouched. Keighran misses. (0-12)
  • 39′ Ma’u is sent to the sin-bin for a late shot. Smith converts a penalty on the half-time hooter. (2-12)
  • HT: Wigan 2-12 Catalans
  • 44′ Wigan score their first try through Harry Smith, running onto an offload from a charging Kaide Ellis. Smith converts his own try. (8-12)
  • 54′ Smith converts a penalty for offside in front of the posts. (10-12)
  • 62′ Ma’u scores his second of the evening, chasing a kick from half-back Tyrone May and beating Jai Field to extend his side’s lead. Keighran adding the two. (10-18)
  • FT: Wigan 10-18 Catalans

How they lined up

Wigan: Field, French, King, Wardle, Marshall, Cust, Smith, Singleton, Powell, Cooper, Isa, Farrell, Smithies. Bench: Havard, Ellis, Mago, Pearce-Paul. 18: Byrne

Tries: Smith Goals: Smith 3

Catalans: Mourgue, Davies, Romano, Laguerre, Johnstone, Keighran, May, McMeeken, McIlorum, Bousquet, Ma’u, Seguier, Garcia. Bench: Goudemand, Dezaria, Chan, Tison. 18: Scimone.

Tries: Ma’u (2), Romano Goals: Keighran 3 Sin-bin: Ma’u

Attendance: 11,451

What they said

Wigan boss Peet said in his post-match press conference: “It’s a disappointing result. 

“I was pleased with the lads’ second half performance. Although we didn’t manage to get the job done, I thought we managed to turn the momentum of the game and put ourselves in a position to win it. 

“At crucial times, I thought we made some errors that you can’t make in these kind of games against a good team. Some of those big turnover moments are crucial and handing momentum back to Catalans who were in the mood to stick on to it.”

Catalans head coach McNamara commented: “It was tough coming here. It’s Round Four, early on, and the conditions turned and this stage of the year every coach has his own story and it’s not been plain sailing for us by any stretch.

“To come across here in these conditions and play well and defend really tough, it’s a good night for us.

“I thought Tyrone May was outstanding for us. He’s come off a significant injury from the World Cup and he’s put on a good performance tonight.”

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