As appeared in Wigan Evening Post 18th Man Page - 18th August 2016
Another frustrating night for Wigan last Friday and what’s worrying me is that our form is completely dropping off at the time when the squad is getting back towards being pretty injury free.
We all know we’ve had attacking problems this season but this loss I thought was more on the defence. The tries conceded were not great but you have to bow to the quality of Denny Solomona who now has more than 30 tries this season including seven against Wigan!
One thing you don’t often see from Wigan is them being beaten mentally but I thought Castleford had Wigan rattled at times. Sam Tomkins was captain on the night but he seemed to be more in a constant battle with the referee rather than with the opposition.
The fact the referee on the night Joe Cobb has been dropped to do Workington v Whitehaven this weekend perhaps suggests his dealing with the situation was poor but Sam pushing away Luke Dorn when he was talking to Cobb at one point was not great, regardless of what was being said and to me it was a white flag showing how rattled Wigan seemed.
Castleford are no mug side though, so this one defeat in isolation is nothing to worry about, but four defeats in five now is a worrying trend and you have to question why our best rugby in recent times seems to be being played when the scoreboard has run away and we’ve seemingly nothing to lose?
I can offer five examples. At Hull KR, at home to Wakefield (last month), at Leeds, in the cup semi-final and now this game at Castleford, we’ve looked extremely dominant late on after we’ve got to a point when we’re questioning on radio whether winning is beyond reach. Never giving up is a great trait but does it also highlights a consistent failure if we keep ending up in situations of having to chase games down late on?
Either way the pressure is now huge on the derby on Friday for Wigan to get a result. You feel that this season in severe danger of drifting away unless we can begin to turn it round with a big performance.
Our dire non-Easter derby record (no league wins at the DW or in St Helens since 2007) and the result last month hardly inspires expectation but the more that record goes on the more you feel we are due to turn that around. I hope to be pleasantly surprised come 10pm on Friday.