Comeback King

For the second week running, the Wire snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the most dramatic of fashion to maintain our 100% start to the season. 

Trailing 14-12 at half-time and not looking particularly brilliant, we went further down just after the break.

But, like last week, the boys in black and red displayed a hell of a lot of character and resilience to come from behind.

We weren’t at our best – not by a long way – but it is these sorts of victories, away in a hostile environment, against a team that will be challenging at the top end of the league, with star players across the park, with your backs against the wall, when you dig in and find a way to win, that champions are made of.

It is the type of victory that we rarely get credited for being able to pull off. When the weather is good, and we’re playing free flowing rugby, we are more than capable of putting big scores on teams.

It has been suggested in recent years that were are just ‘fast track bullies’, but so far this season, we have seen a totally different side to the team. The ability to grind out a comeback victory in the driving rain at Salford and the freezing cold in Perpignan is one that will stand us in good stead at the business end of the season, make no mistake.

Sandow was instrumental again. He really is what we’ve been missing since Briers retired and he took the game by the scruff of the neck again this week, taking the line on and probing with his attacking kicks and his pass selection.

He is nobly aided, of course, by Kurt Gidley, who brings direction and control to the team, but the pack deserve a lot of credit for the shift they put in to get the team up the field.

Chris Hill was everywhere again; Jordan Cox put another big shift in against much more experience opposition; Brad Dwyer was dangerous out of dummy half; Currie, Hughes and Westerman again displayed their dynamism and the potential to be the best back row in the competition and George King continues to develop at a fantastic rate.

The game got off to a disastrous start when Todd Carney opened the scoring for the hosts when he strolled through a huge gap in the defensive line and shrugged off the feeble attempted cover tackle from Russell to touch down under the sticks.

Wire hit back instantly, forcing their way into good position and Sandow’s flat pass found Rhys Evans who hit the line at pace and was strong enough to see off the efforts of four Dragons’ defenders.

After a scratchy spell where both teams traded errors, penalties and possession, Catalans regained the lead through ex-Wigan winger Pat Richards. The Dragons spread the ball wide and Justin Horo broke through, marching downfield and released the final pass to the Irish international who scored in the corner before adding a booming touchline conversion and a simple two points moments later to extend their lead after another silly penalty.

Stefan Ratchford made an immediate impact off the bench, charging down a kick and turning over possession deep in Catalans’ territory. From the play the ball, Sandow took the broken defensive line on and put Ben Currie over for his weekly meat pie.

Mitch Dodds, making his first appearance in a Wire shirt after a wrist injury, was stretchered off just before the break with a horrific looking leg injury. It looked like a clean break and the former Brisbane prop will most likely face a long layoff.

Vincent Duport got the scoreboard ticking over again after the break when Catalans shifted the ball to their left and our edge defence couldn’t cope with the numbers flooding towards them, taking their lead to 20-12.

Wire hit back again not long after, though, after a great display of intelligence from Tom Lineham. The big winger collected Pat Richards’ drop out with his foot over the touchline and, whatever you think of that particular rule, he exploited it very well to earn a penalty 10 metres from the line.

From the resulting set, Warrington threw the ball around and Rhys Evans again burst through the line for his second try of the game and the hope of a comeback was very much on.

With less than five minutes on the clock, George King muscled his way over the try line and the video referee ruled that he had actually got the ball down, giving the Wire the lead for the first time in the game.

As Catalans tried desperately to come up with a magic play, the ball was spilled and Chris Sandow scooped to rub some salt into the wounds, diving over for a try as the hooter went.



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