Wigan set for sixth derby with Saints
WIGAN coach Michael Maguire saluted goal-kicking winger Pat Richards after he became only the fourth player in the club’s history to score 2,000 points.
The 2010 Super League Man of Steel kicked eight goals from nine attempts in the Warriors’ 44-0 win over Catalan Dragons to register the nine points he needed to join Andy Farrell, Jim Sullivan and Frano Botica in reaching the magical milestone.
“It’s a great effort,” Maguire said. “He was struggling before the game with a minor bump on his calf but he came through really well and it was good to see him get some points.”
The defending champions bounced back from their opening home play-off defeat by St Helens to remain on course for a return to Old Trafford, with their seven tries coming from Josh Charnley, Ryan Hoffman, Liam Farrell, George Carmont, Brett Finch, Sam Tomkins and Harrison Hansen.
They will take on Saints at the Stobart Stadium in the second qualifying semi-final next Saturday – a sixth derby meeting of the year – with a chance to avenge their previous 26-18 defeat.
“It’s definitely pleasing to get this win,” said Maguire.
“After last week when we didn’t play to our capabilities, it was good to see the boys come back and aim up.”
Maguire said he withdrew centre Joel Tomkins at half-time as a precaution after he picked up a leg injury and was forced to make a last-minute change when prop Lee Mossop was injured in the warm-up.
The Dragons were nilled for the first time for 18 months as they found themselves on the wrong end of a fourth one-sided game out of six play-off ties so far but coach Trent Robinson remained proud of his team’s efforts in turning around their fortunes from last year’s wooden-spoon.
“There are no fairytales in footie and that showed,” he said. “We were on a bit of a wave.
“We’ve worked hard for what we’ve got and this result doesn’t take away from that.”
IN THE POINTS: Wigan Warriors’ Harrison Hansen is tackled by Catalan Dragons’ Steve Menzies at the DW Stadium.