Wigan Warriors v Saints
Well we won the penalty count 27 – 12!
You’d be right in thinking that it’s a funny way to begin a match report with a boast about the penalty count but if you look closer the above fact tells you a lot about the game, writes Graham Henthorne.
39 penalties in any game tells you it was a spiteful affair. The massive differential coupled with three yellow cards and one red issued to the home side against the one yellow to the Saints tells its own story.
However, even stranger is the fact that despite the persistent infringing, notably for head high tackles, the referee only put them on a team warning two minutes from time.
Delve deeper and the mentioning of the penalty count means that there was little else constructive to talk about from a Saints’ point of view especially in the second half.
A spiralling kick off was spilt on the Saints 10 metre line putting them under pressure right away but two good, well organised defensive sets saw the Saints through.
The first of the barrage of penalties saw the Saints clear their lines with drives from Matty Lees and Jorge Lewtas. On the fifth a quick play the ball gave Josh eaves space and the hooker darted from marker making 20 metres to the home side’s 10 metre line. On the last a pin point grubber from Elliott Jenkins stopped in the quagmire that doubles up as an in goal area at Orrell, allowing tom Nisbett to react first to get the touch down.
Once again injuries hit as Matty Costello left the field on 13 minutes with two dead legs and in the restructure the home side went in at the corner.
The Saints before the kick off set their stall out not to be dominated down the middle. This was epitomised by Lees as he smacked into his opposite number causing a knock-on deep in the own half.
Then the fun started.
On 23 minutes the home side were reduced to 12 men for a head high tackle. Two minutes later they were down to 11 men for yet another high tackle and then two minutes after that they were reduced to 10 as the second row was permanently ejected for his part in driving Matty Lees head first into the mud. Although to be honest all three in the tackle could’ve gone.
Sandwiched in the middle the Saints regained the lead as Mike Weldon did what he’s good at and ran the perfect line off the perfect Jenkins’ pass to the line.
Unfortunately the home side, despite being two players down, managed to even it up with a try nine minutes before the break.
The conversion and a penalty just before the break saw the scores tied but a snap drop goal at the whistle gave the home side a one point lead.
Confidence was high at the half time chat with the side knowing they only had to put the home side under some pressure and they would crack.
Unfortunately that’s just what the Saints couldn’t quite manage to do no matter how hard they tried. And try they did with Lees and Eaves running themselves to water and Jenkins putting up a brave show at full back in yet another enforced reshuffle.
But there was a lack of game sense and awareness on show which brute force and effort couldn’t substitute for leaving the home side to score 10 unanswered points to take the spoils.
Tries: Joe Brown (15), James Worthington (31), Josh Woods (64), Sam Grant (72).
Goals: Harry Smith 1 from 3, Josh Woods 1 from 2.
Drop Goals: Josh Woods (40).
Tries: Tom Nisbett (7), Mike Weldon (25).
Goals: Brad Billsborough 1 from 2.
Half Time: 11-10
Full Time: 21-10
1. Craig Mullen; 11. Sam Grant, 4. James Barran, 24. James Worthington, 2. Joe Brown; 6. Harry Smith, 7. Josh Woods; 8. Oliver Partington, 9. Josh Ganson, 14. Callum Field, 19. Jack Wells, 23. Liam Paisley, 13. Patrick Casey.
Subs: 12. Joe Pilling, 17. Sammy Kibula, 18. Caine Barnes, 20. Joe Shorrocks.
1. Matty Costello; 2. Joe Sharratt, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Owen Smith, 5. Tom Nisbett; 7. Brad Billsborough, 6. Elliott Jenkins; 19. Matty Lees, 9. Josh Eaves, 13. Jorge Lewtas, 11. Alex Eckley, 12. Mike Weldon (C), 10. Jordan Olmez.
Subs: 14. Brad Pinder, 15. Sam Royle, 16. Chris Follin, 17. Evan Bullen.
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