They were taught a lesson in consistency by Castleford Tigers who’ve handled the early season plaudits with ease.
Who would have thought that following a 38-16 win at Warrington, shortly after being crowned world champions, they’d now be without a win in over a month and outside the top 4, desperate for a win.
At the beginning of March, everyone else was being told to pack up, go home and prepare for a Castleford v Wigan Grand Final in October. Their next game against Cas was billed as deciding the ‘best team in Super league’.
Results have gradually worsened since then however, from a 16-16 draw at home to Huddersfield, to a 10-27 home defeat to Cas. They’ve not managed a win at home, in Super League, since their 20-0 defeat of Leigh on 3rd March.
When the Cas game did eventually arrive defeat was completely expected.
Wane, it’s him, he’s the problem.
The current Wigan team have been built in his image, they’re rough, tough and overly aggressive. Whoever they play generally have to revert to the same tactic and it results in an increased likelihood of injury. If you compare it to the way Cas play and the way teams play against them, it’s obvious which style creates an environment more likely to result in injury.
It’s hard accusing anyone of being overzealous in what is a very competitive and physical game, but it’s highly possible they’ve crossed the line and it’s become self-destructive. They even had to call off both their academy and reserve games this week due to a lack of available players.
Being more aggressive and physical than the opposition is a very basic ‘Plan A’ from the games highest profile club. ‘Plan B’ seems to be complaining about all the injuries resulting from ‘Plan A’. Shaun Wane, as head coach, should take full responsibility. He owes the fans a little more sophistication.
Sam Tomkins is the highest profile victim, Super League’s only ‘marquee player’, who’s sadly yet to make an appearance. It’s the wrong environment for him to be in. Will he ever be the same player again, it’s increasingly unlikely. It’s more likely that he’ll make a comeback at some point, but then break down with injury again due to Wigan’s style of play.
Recent years have been a very successful period for Wigan Warriors, but it’s resulted in the demise of a number of the country’s best players, though injury. George Williams should take note and make his way to the NRL, to avoid the same fate.
It might be best for everyone if Wigan decide to change their approach. They’ve enough ability to soften their attitude and win Grand Finals anyway, without ruining the careers of their players by being unrealistically demanding.
It’s St Helens at home next. Defeat is unthinkable against a very average St Helens team. The body count will be interesting, after the usual damaging Easter period.