PICTURES EDDIE WHITHAM
A LATE flurry against 12 men helped Wigan Warriors to a 26-6 win over Warrington Wolves in a possible Grand Final rehearsal at the DW Stadium.
The game was finely poised at 8-6 when Wolves winger Tom Lineham was sent to the sin after 67 minutes, and in his absence, Wigan crossed three times to secure a flattering victory.
With both sides already guaranteed a play-off place, Warrington opted to leave out a number of their first team stars and defeat means they are now likely to face league leaders St Helens in the semi-finals, with Wigan taking on Castleford, meaning should they both win, this match could be repeated at Old Trafford next month.
There was a debut for Luis Johnson off the bench, which also included fellow young guns Joe Philbin and Morgan Smith, while Harvey Livett and Declan Patton started in the halves.
The game remained scoreless for 38 minutes before Tommy Leuluai collected John Bateman’s kick through to score under the sticks, and give Wigan a 6-0 half-time advantage.
Wigan were down to 12 men on 52 minutes after Sam Tomkins was sinbinned for dissent, and during his absence, the Wolves levelled things up thanks to Stefan Ratchford’s converted try off a neat Patton kick.
With Tomkins still off, Wigan calmed things down and regained the lead when George Williams knocked over a penalty to make it 8-6, and that was how the score remained until Lineham was shown a yellow card.
Warrington could only hold on until 72 minutes when the returning Dom Manfredi scored the first of his two tries, to finally put some breathing space between the two sides.
Two minutes later Manfredi was over again, Tomkins converting both and it was game over at 20-6, before Ryan Sutton forced his way over for another score.
Warrington host St Helens next week before a trip to Wakefield to round off the Super 8s, before the play-offs begin. The Super League Grand Final is scheduled for Old Trafford on Saturday October 13.
Wigan: Tomkins, Manfredi, Gildart, Sarginson, Davies, Williams, Leuluai, Clubb, Powell, Navarrete, Bateman, Isa, Hamlin. Subs: Escare, Sutton, Partington, Tautai.
Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Charnley, Livett, Patton, G King, Clark, Westwood, Thompson, T King, Hughes. Subs: Philbin, Smith, Pomeroy, Johnson.
Not the best result tonight but was an unreal feeling making my debut. Thank you for all the messages https://t.co/hQIbtq3u1u
— luis johnson (@luisjohnson99) September 14, 2018
🗣️ “I’m really proud of Luis’ effort tonight. I thought he had a great debut.”
— Warrington Wolves (@wolvesrl) September 14, 2018