Wigan moved to within two points of fourth place following a 18-8 victory over bottom-placed London at the DW Stadium.
The win sees the Warriors move above Salford into seventh place in the Super League table, just two points behind fourth-placed Wakefield, while the Broncos remain bottom of the pile.
Adrian Lam made two changes to his Wigan side that beat Castleford last weekend. Morgan Escare and Romain Navarrete came in for Joe Burgess and Ollie Partington.
London coach Danny Ward made three changes to his outfit that lost to Salford last time out. Matt Fleming, Matty Gee and Sam Davis were replaced by Elliot Kear, Greg Richards and Eloi Pelissier.
A Kieran Dixon penalty goal gave the Broncos an early lead, but it didn’t last long as Wigan half-back Jake Shorrocks threw a cheeky show and go to dive over.
London went back in front midway through the first half as Jay Pitts cottoned onto a neat little grubber from Jordan Abdull. Dixon’s goal gave the capital side an 8-6 advantage at the break.
Chris Hankinson put the Warriors back in the lead as he capitalised on an error from Kear in the early stages of the second half.
France international Escare latched onto a George Williams grubber on the hour to put the game out of reach for the Broncos. Hardaker’s conversion sealed an 18-8 victory for Wigan.
Three talking points
Improvements needed for Wigan
The Warriors might have come away from the game with the two points but they were still nowhere near the Wigan team we all know. They showed glimpses of what they can do in attack during the second half, but they need to be much better.
Wigan’s defence has been good in the last two games against Castleford and London, which is a positive for Lam, but their attack isn’t clicking at the moment.
You sense that a big win for the Warriors isn’t too far away, but we are now three months into the campaign and we need to see improvements sooner rather than later. They have got the squad to compete for silverware, there is no doubt about that, but we need to start seeing it for a full 80 minutes.
Rocky road ahead for London
The Broncos weren’t embarrassed at the home of the current Super League champions by any means but it’s fair to say they face an uphill battle to remain in the division beyond this season.
They haven’t registered a win in eight games now and despite their fine start back in the top-flight, they are now struggling to keep afloat in the deep end.
London have a great coach in Ward and have got a tight-knit group, which is clear to see, but they are just lacking star quality. They might need to scour the market for a few recruits if they want to be a Super League team in 2020.
Super League more competitive than ever
The Super League competition this season is ridiculous, but in a good way! The table is pretty even and the race to make it into the top five is hotting up more than ever at this stage compared to previous years.
Wigan have come under a lot of criticism so far this season for their performances, but they are only two points away now from being in the top five.
It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to realise that either St Helens or Warrington will win the League Leaders’ Shield, but you can finish fifth and have a shot at making the Grand Final, which Wigan will be hoping for.
Line-ups and ratings
Wigan: Hardaker (8); Marshall (6), Hankinson (7), Gildart (7), Escare (7); Williams (7), Shorrocks (7); Flower (7), Leuluai (8), Bullock (7), Isa (6), Greenwood (7), Smithies (7). Subs: O’Loughlin (7), Powell (6), Tautai (6), Navarrete (7).
Tries: Shorrocks, Hankinson, Escare Goals: Hardaker 3/3
London: Walker (6); Dixon (7), Morgan (6), Kear (5), Williams (7); Smith (7), Abdull (7); Battye (7), Cunningham (6), Butler (7), Pitts (6), Lovell (6), Yates (8). Subs: Richards (6), Hindmarsh-Takyi (5), Pelissier (6), Adebiyi (5).
Tries: Pitts Goals: Dixon 2/2
It was a must win for Wigan and ultimately, they got the job done. However, their attack needs to improve massively if they wish to go on a challenge for trophies towards the end of the season.
If you look at the form teams so far in 2019 – St Helens and Warrington – they are posting points for fun. In fact, they have both scored nearly 200 points more than the Warriors this season. Wigan have got some phenomenal attacking threats, but we need to start seeing combinations click.
As for London, I just think they need to sign some players and add strength and cutting edge in their pack. This season back in the top tier was always going to be difficult for the Broncos, but they simply need a bit more quality.