Super 8s: Wigan Warriors win 26-6 against Warrington Wolves after late flurry of scores
|Wigan (6) 26|
|Tries: Leuluai, Manfredi 2, Sutton Goals: Tomkins, Williams|
|Warrington (0) 6|
|Tries: Ratchford Goals: Patton|
Wigan Warriors' late trio of tries pulled them clear of Warrington Wolves in a gruelling Super League slugfest to make it five wins in a row.
Manfredi crossed twice in the final nine minutes, while Ryan Sutton also scored after George Williams' goal had given them a two-point lead.
Tommy Leuluai's try, which resulted in a dislocated finger, was the only score of a bruising first half.
Stefan Ratchford's score put the Wire in the contest, before the late flurry.
The brace for Manfredi was particularly sweet, as it marked his first appearance in two years for the Warriors after a string of serious long-term knee injuries.
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Their coach Shaun Wane, who celebrated his 54th birthday tonight and will depart at the end of the season, looked delighted and emotional when he punched the air following Manfredi's first score.
"I'm really pleased for him, our medical department have done a brilliant job and I'm really pleased he scored a couple of tries," Wane told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.
"I can't imagine what he's been through but he's turned up everyday in training and worked hard.
"It's all credit to him what he's done and the two outstanding finishes are only what he can do."
Both of these sides will be involved in the end-of-season mix-up having already booked their semi-final spots for the play-offs, and this was a game that had all the hallmarks of a Grand Final encounter.
Defences were at premium level throughout, and it took a wonderful piece of skill by John Bateman to unlock Warrington - his soccer-style through-ball that Tommy Leuluai got to first was top-drawer quality.
It was the only blow struck of the first half, and that arm-wrestle continued into the second as with Sam Tomkins sin-binned for dissent, Ratchford burst onto a similarly well-aimed kick by Declan Patton after the break.
Williams' penalty goal set the game up for a grinding finish but once Manfredi crossed it seemed to sap Warrington and the floodgates opened to bring up a flattering scoreline for Wane's Warriors.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra:
"Our attack was off first half but they came with a lot of spirit.
"There are no easy games, there is a lot for us to improve upon.
"We showed how focused we needed to be, but Warrington are always going to turn up. I'm happy with the two points."
Warrington head coach Steve Price told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra:
"The scoreline didn't really indicate how well we played. For 68 minutes of the game we were having a red-hot crack, 8-6 it ovculd have gone eithe rway.
"When Tom Lineham got sin-binned for the high tackle we couldn't pull the wave of possession and flow back from Wigan.
"I was delighted with Luis Johnson on debut tonight. He had to hang tough, he was gone at the back end. We'll get a few troops back next week but for 68 minutes we weren't too bad."
Wigan Warriors: Tomkins; Manfredi, Gildart, Sarginson, Davies; Williams, Leuluai; Clubb, Powell, Navarrete, Bateman, Isa, Hamlin.
Replacements: Escare, Sutton, Partington, Tautai.
Warrington: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Charnley; Livett, Patton; G. King, Clark, Westwood, Thompson, T. King, Hughes.
Replacements: Philbin, Smith, Pomeroy, Johnson.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL)