Wigan Warriors 2016 Season Review
It’s strange to say for a team that won the Grand Final and were crowned the Super League Champions but the 2016 season was one of ups and downs for the Warriors but in the end, you have to say that a Grand Final victory and a Challenge Cup semi-final has to be a successful season even for a club with the expectations of Wigan.
The first part of the season saw the Warriors struggle in attack, in fact despite a 3rd place finish they had the 2nd worst attack with just 455 points scored. With an average of just 19.5 points scored per match it is no surprise that the Warriors defence was just as good as their attack was poor.
That led to many matches been boring which in turn led to a dip in attendances and atmosphere at their large DW Stadium home.
That gave a strange feel to the Warriors season which was summed up in their Challenge Cup semi-finals were the ground was full to capacity in the Hull FC end but half empty in the Wigan end. A 62-0 loss at Wakefield also showed that something wasn’t quite right in the Wigan camp.
It seemed that the Warriors wouldn’t be able to do much in the Super 8s as up against the best of the best they simply seemed to not have enough points in them but come the end of the season something strange happened.
Up against the other best 7 teams in Super League something clicked in the Wigan camp and they went from a team struggling in attack to a team capable of winning against any one as they finished in 2nd place in the Super 8’s with 5 wins and 2 losses.
In their 7 matches the Warriors scored 214 or a 30.5 point average. Their defence also remained strong so the Warriors went from a struggling team relying on the odd individual moment of quality to a team dominating in attack and defence and they quickly became a favourite for the title.
In the playoff semi-final, the Warriors faced what looked to be a tough home match against Hull FC and although the Airlie Birds were in the match from start to finish the Warriors always looked to be in control as they made it to Old Trafford.
In the final things turned out to be perfect for the Warriors as the match was a low scoring affair which is where the Warriors excel as the club simply breeds a win or die attitude.
The Warriors proved to have enough to get over the line and defeated the Wolves 6-12.
Plenty of early season performances just weren’t up to the standards set by the Warriors with their 62-0 loss at Wakefield been amongst the worst performance sever by a Wigan Warriors team.
Losing in the semi-final of the cup is always a huge disappointment but they made up for that in the end.
Reasons to be Positive
Winning the Super League Grand Final is about as good a reason to be positive as possible.
A great season for the Warriors but one that also showed that changes need to be made and improvements are needed in many places.
Next season the Warriors need to be more consistent and they need to rely on more than moments of brilliance form players to get them over the line. There have already been some bog changes announced for next season with Thomas Leuluai replacing Matty Smith in the halves.