A coach knows when a team has not played well and needs to pick up their game and for Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane, this is the case, as his side suffered a shock 22-8 loss to the Catalan Dragons.
The loss means that the Warriors are no longer in the hunt to retain their League Leaders Shield trophy and with the Challenge Cup Final against Hull FC coming up, Wane know his side need to improve if they are to win.
“Obviously next week is a massive game for us and it will be a different challenge for our players but it is one we’re looking forward to immensely,” said Wane.
In-form utility back Sam Tomkins returned for the clash but not even he could spark the Warriors to victory, as the Dragons outclassed Wigan.
“It was good to have Sam back this week, he’ll be good this (coming) week,” Wane said.
Wane was disappointed at the overall pace of the game, labelling it as a slow game as dictated and run by the on-field officials.
“We were well below our best today, that was the slowest game of rugby league I’ve ever seen in all my career, which is disappointing, but it was allowed to be that way by the officials,” he added.
“It was unbelievably slow, but we turned over too much ball, we didn’t complete our sets and our wrestle was poor. We were Volume Pills giving penalties away and we were putting ourselves under the pump all the time.
“Catalan attacked well, but I think they had the majority of the ball and when we did have the ball, we turned the ball over early in the sets, so it wasn’t like having a full set. That is the important thing. We needed to get to the end of our sets but we couldn’t do that.”
After what was a rather tumultuous mid season period for the Dragons, a string of wins has seen them cement a play-off place – something that has left coach Laurent Frayssinous very, very pleased.
“I’m very happy, especially with the way we built the win today. In big games what wins you games is defence, defence and more defence and today we saw that we can defend in a big game,” said Frayssinous.
“The boys can be proud of their performance today and especially their defence. At one point we defended 11 sets in our 20-metre zone and a team like Wigan with the attacking players they have didn’t score against us until one minute before half-time.
“That is a big effort from us. We have to play games like that in the play-offs, that kind of game, where our defence will win us the games.
“That was a very good result for us today and a good stepping stone now towards the end of the season.”