Wigan Warriors headed into their game against Wakefield Trinity on Saturday 23rd September needing a hefty 90 point victory to stand any chance of making the last four of the Super League. Even though there was a mathematical chance of Wigan making the playoffs it was always going to be a highly unlikely outcome, especially after Hull had beaten Castleford on Friday night.
They needed a miracle and to say that all hope evaporated quickly against Wakefield would be a huge understatement. Even though there was a mathematical chance of Wigan making the playoffs it was always going to be a highly unlikely outcome, especially after Hull had beaten Castleford on Friday night. They needed a miracle and to say that all hope evaporated quickly against Wakefield would be a huge understatement.
Things fell apart very quickly for Shaun Wane’s men as tries from Ben Jones-Bishop, Jacob Miller, Sam Williams, Scott Grix and Keegan Hirst, as well as six Liam Finn goals, condemned them to a 32-0 defeat and saw Wakefield climb above them into 5th in the table. Thinking about it now, looking at the betting on who would have made the playoffs; it was highly unlikely that Wigan would be involved. And even though there was little hope, Wigan fans would still feel hugely disappointed as they failed to make a fight of their final game of the season.
Overall it’s just not been a good season for the Warriors, especially within the absence of captain Sean O’Loughlin. O’Loughlin is a key man to any success that Wigan have and this was telling with Wigan losing all 8 games he was absent for due to injury this campaign. What makes it worse is the fact that the England captain is out of contract with the club this summer. The likes of Canadian outfit Toronto Wolfpack are already closely monitoring O’Loughlin’s situation keenly but it’s likely he stays put at his hometown club, the only club he has played for during his career.
It has been a bitter pill to swallow for Wigan Warriors fans this campaign as they saw their side, the 2016 champions, win only 14 of their 30 games this time round. They did enjoy some success though, so it hasn’t been all doom and gloom. They won the World Club Challenge for a record fourth time back in February much to the delight of their fan base. It will certainly rankle thought that they finished 19 points off winners Castleford this time around and they will certainly be looking for a marked improvement in 2018.
Captain Sean O’Loughlin’s inclusion in the Super League Dream Team can be seen as both a good and a bad thing really. He’s been named in the fictitious side a total of six times up to now and has been named as the number 13 from 2010 to 2014. The negative side is that none of his teammates was named even though you could say a couple were in with a decent shout. Oliver Gildart was shortlisted for the Super League’s Young Player of the Year award and stand-off George Williams was another who many felt could force their way into the reckoning.
It has been a bit of a mixed bag for Wigan fans this season just gone. There have been both highs and lows but one thing that has been lacking is consistency in their Super League form. The absence of captain Sean O’Loughlin was telling and they need to resolve his contract situation quickly or they could face losing him.