Wigan Warriors go top, lightning strikes twice, Salford Red Devils drop out the six – Five takeaways

Ben Olawumi
Jai Field Wigan Warriors Alamy

Jai Field in action for Wigan Warriors

Wigan Warriors made it six wins in a row and went top of the Super League table courtesy of a 26-8 victory over  Salford Red Devils, their third win against the same opponents in 2023.

Here are our five takeaways from the televised Round 24 clash at the DW Stadium…

Wigan assume pole position

Pre-game, Warriors head coach Matt Peet scooped the Super League Coach of the Month award for August, a month which had seen his side win all three of their Super League games.

He told Sky Sports presenter Jenna Brooks that there was still a lot of improvement to be had performance wise, saying their win at Catalans Dragons was the only good performance of the three wins last month.

Peet went on to witness a ruthless performance from the Cherry and Whites against the Red Devils, earning a 50th win against Salford in the Super League era.

After a tentative start, they were dominant throughout, and a three-try haul in the final 10 minutes of the first half took the game away from Salford.

A sixth straight win paired with Catalans Dragons’ defeat at Hull KR means that with just three games remaining, Wigan now top the Super League table. You wouldn’t back against them to end the season there.

‘Lightning’ Jai Field strikes twice

Of Wigan’s five tries, Jai Field’s on the half-time hooter was without doubt the pick of the bunch, and Salford will be having nightmares about him for a second year running.

He ran the length of the field for a stunning solo effort against Paul Rowley’s side in 2022, and did so again tonight with a hugely impressive 85-metre run to cross the whitewash.

Picking Marc Sneyd’s kick out of the air under pressure from the oncoming attackers, he evaded all of them and weaved his way through into space to break away.

The 25-year-old remains one of the brightest talents in Super League, and will no doubt have a big say in how the Warriors perform in the play-offs at the end of the year. He hasn’t experienced an Old Trafford trip yet, will this year be the year he does?

Conversion woes

Amidst all the positivity surrounding Wigan at the moment remains the talking point of Harry Smith’s goal-kicking.

Pundits Kyle Amor and Danika Priim recently highlighted his then-64% success rate with the boot as an issue for Peet’s men heading into those end of season play-offs, and he started the night off shaky again against Salford.

He was 0/2 having missed conversion attempts following tries from Liam Farrell and Abbas Miski. A wry smile appeared on his face though as he slotted over to add two points following the aforementioned Field cross underneath the sticks.

And from there on in, he added the extras on both of Wigan’s second half tries, ending the evening 3/5 and at 60%. Whether that will cost the Warriors remains to be seen.

Mago playing his way into new deal?


Another hot topic around Wigan at the moment is the future of powerhouse Patrick Mago, who is off-contract at the end of the year.

After initially impressing in his first year at the club last term, the big forward has had a mixed 2023 until the last month or so.

Boss Peet earlier this week said nothing had been confirmed on Mago’s future, but the 28-year-old has really impressed in recent weeks, and that continued on Friday as he caused Salford’s defence problems.

Salford struggled to contain him at times, and the Samoan prop made metres for the Warriors even with numerous bodies around his legs trying to stop him. If he can keep producing until the end of the year, surely he’ll earn himself a new deal?

MAGO: Patrick Mago future unclear as Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet provides contract latest

Salford drop out of the six

After six Super League defeats on the spin, Salford’s win over Huddersfield Giants last month was a sign that they’d turned a corner.

They then beat Wakefield Trinity 20-0 on home soil last week, though nobody was waxing lyrical about the performance put in by Rowley’s side, himself included.

He told Sky Sports post-match at the DW Stadium that the weaknesses in execution had carried on from that Wakefield game, and that they’d been punished by a better side in Wigan.

Whether that was the case or not, the defeat – and KR’s win over Catalans – sees the Red Devils slip out of the play-off positions with the Robins leapfrogging them.

Hull KR and Warrington, the teams in fifth and sixth currently, are the next two on the agenda for Salford. It’s still in their hands, but they’ve got to produce two big performances now.

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