Paul Sculthorpe says standard of Wigan vs Catalans was “shocking” and highlights rugby league’s big problem

Last night, Catalans Dragons have laid down another marker by defeating the Wigan Warriors 18-10 tonight for Wigan it means that their unbeaten run in the league at home ends and also ensures that they have lost two of their opening four.

After threatening runs from the lively and quick Arthur Mourgue, a strong run and spin from Manu Ma’u up against Brad Singleton allowed him to cross as e returned to the side.

Adam Keighran has been one of the best signings of the season and we saw that again as he helped create the overlap down the left that enabled Arthur Romano to stroll in.

After being near perfect for the first 40, Catalans gave away a crucial penalty on the cusp of halftime as Manu Ma’u was penalised for a late hit on Harry Smith and was yellow carded. It allowed the Warriors to trim the lead to 12-2 and gave them a man advantage to start the second half.

Often we see a man advantage exploited out wide but after chancing their arm out wide, it was a short ball to Kaide Ellis down the middle that allowed the prop to pop through the line and find Smith with an offload to score.

Kicks were causing chaos in the swirling wind and this was having a profound impact on proceedings as were the penalties received which created huge swings in possession and territory. One penalty allowed the Warriors to trim the deficit all the way down to 12-10.

A smart play from Tyrone May to kick ahead early in the tackle count saw Manu Ma’u race ahead and pick up the ball before stepping passed Jai Field and having the strength to get the ball down for a brace in an up and down game for the former Hull FC man.

A number of times Wigan were inches away with their most reliable scorers. Before Ma’u’s second, Liam Marshall, who had scored eight tries in the opening three games, was close to grounding a kick after a deflection then a smart kick from Smith looked set to lead to a Bevan French try as he chased but he couldn’t grab hold.

Tom Johnstone won the game for the Dragons but not in the way you would expect. Usually a try scorer, this time he came up with a terrific try saver on Jake Wardle as he looked to be headed over for a try that could have given the Warriors a chance at a comeback.

An exciting game played in the backdrop of IMG’s recommended grading criteria, in the eyes of Paul Sculthorpe the game was of a “shocking” standard and highlighted the need to develop more players rather than focus on the off-field development.

The former Man of Steel took to twitter yesterday to say:

“The standard of this game is shocking….all this talk of off-field changes, we need to develop more good players…fact

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