TWELVE games into the Super League XV season and Wigan Warriors are sitting at the top of the table.
Under new head coach Michael Maguire, the cherry and whites have rattled up 10 League victories, as well as a Challenge Cup success at Sheffield Eagles.
Their style of play hasn’t gone down well in some quarters, with many suggesting they adopt a negative defensive approach intended to stifle the opposition’s attack.
Similar criticisms were, of course, levelled at the Giants last season, and Huddersfield head coach Nathan Brown is very firmly of the opinion that these comments are being made because Wigan this season are proving to be successful, just like the men from the Galpharm were in 2009!
Yet even though Wigan have been setting the pace this season, their recent form has been a little suspect.
Two weeks ago, they had to come back from behind to win 50-34 at struggling Championship club Sheffield. They did field a strong side.
Then seven days later, they were left stunned after suffering a 38-26 home defeat to bottom-of-the-table Harlequins.they lost the second half 32-2!
MANY believe Sean O’Loughlin is now in the form of his life at Wigan.
The England star has certainly blossomed under the command of new head coach Michael Maguire.
The loose forward is outstanding defensively and is quite often Wigan’s top tackler in key games.
Although he is no longer the captain after Maguire decided instead to name a leadership group, he still remains a natural leader in the middle of the park.
As well as his strong defence, he boasts a good pair of hands and has an astute kicking game, something the club were quick to recognise in 2008 when they handed him a new contract that will keep him at the club until the end of 2012.
MICHAEL MAGUIRE was appointed as Wigan’s new head coach last October after signing a three-year contract up until the end of the 2012 campaign.
He succeeded Brian Noble, whose contract came to an end in 2009, and it was thought he would be a very hard act to follow after the former Great Britain boss had twice helped the Warriors reach the play-offs.
But given the fact Wigan are top of Super League suggests the club made the right decision!
The 35-year-old joined the cherry and whites after spending five years as NRL first-grade assistant coach at Melbourne Storm in Australia.
Maguire played a major part in assisting head coach Craig Bellamy in guiding the Storm to four successive Grand Finals, becoming 2009 NRL Grand Final winners following their previous Grand Final title in 2007, although they have now been stripped of those titles due to major salary-cap breaches.
Maguire, however, was in no way to blame.