Wigan hold off Catalans fightback

Drew Darbyshire

Wigan weathered a Catalans storm in the second half to return to winning ways.  

Shaun Wane made just one change to his Wigan Warriors side that lost to St Helens last week. Morgan Escare replaced Liam Paisley.

Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara made seven changes to his side that beat Salford Red Devils last time out. Jodie Broughton, Iain Thornley, Lucas Albert, Greg Bird, Antoni Maria, Alrix Da Costa and Mickael Goudemand came in for Lewis Tierney, David Mead, Josh Drinkwater, Mickael Simon, Benjamin Jullien, Ben Garcia and Remi Casty.

The French side opened the scoring at the DW Stadium. Wigan winger Liam Marshall failed to deal with a Tony Gigot grubber and Broughton finished in the corner. Albert converted to put his side in a 6-0 lead after eight minutes.

Wigan levelled the score midway through the first half. Chris Hankinson latched onto a Sam Tomkins cross-field kick to touch down. Tomkins added the conversion, 6-6.

Tomkins edged Wigan into the lead on the half hour mark. Catalans were penalised for a second effort in the tackle and Tomkins added the penalty goal.

The Dragons were dealt a blow late on in the first half. Kenny Edwards was sent off for a high and late shot on John Bateman. The Warriors went into the sheds 8-6 ahead.

Escare punished his former club less than two minutes into the second half. He went under the posts and Tomkins converted.

Wigan extended their lead in the 47thminute. Tomkins showed quick feet to go over following a superb Tommy Leuluai offload. He converted his own try and Wigan were 20-6 ahead.

Catalans soon pulled one back though. Da Costa crashed over the line from a couple of yards out. Albert added the additional points, Wigan 20-12 Catalans.

Fouad Yaha brought Catalans back into the game. Tom Davies misread a chip from Albert and Yaha finished easily. Albert’s conversion put Catalans just two points behind.

The Dragons tied the score in the 67thminute. Tony Clubb gave a penalty away for a late shot on Albert and the young French half-back added the penalty goal.

Tomkins, who will be a Catalans player next year, added a drop-goal in the 71stminute to put Wigan 21-20 in front.

Joe Greenwood sealed the two points for the Warriors two minutes from time with his first try for the club. Tomkins failed to convert, but Wigan ran-out 25-20 winners and they bounce back from two straight defeats to Huddersfield Giants and St Helens. Wigan will head into the Super 8s with momentum.

Wigan: Tomkins; Davies, Hankinson, Sarginson, Marshall; Woods, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Bateman, Isa, Navarrete. Subs: Escare, Greenwood, Hamlin, Tautai.

Catalans: Gigot; Broughton, Thornley, Wiliame, Yaha; Langi, Albert; Anderson, McIlorum, Moa, Bird, Edwards, Baitieri. Subs: Bousquet, Maria, Da Costa, Goudemand.

Starman: Sam Tomkins took complete control of the game in the second half. He organised the team very well and came up with a couple of great individual plays.

Attendance: 10,656