Bowen breaks Catalan hearts
A 79th minute try from Matty Bowen broke Catalan Dragons' hearts as Wigan snatched a dramatic 22-16 win at the DW Stadium on Friday night.
It wasn't until Bowen's late score - his second of the night - that Wigan held the lead as Catalan produced a gutsy display to threaten victory.
The Dragons began with a two-try burst in the opening 10 minutes through Morgan Escare and Ben Pomeroy and at one stage led 16-4 before Wigan's late rally.
Converted tried from Josh Charnley and Liam Farrell levelled the match and set-up a frantic final 10 minutes, which, despite a missed penalty from Matty Smith, went Wigan's way thanks to Bowen.
Catalan started the game in thrilling fashion and were soon over with a contender for try of the season from Escare.
Wigan's Smith put up a towering bomb which was misjudged by Mathias Pala that allowed Escare to sweep up - and what happened next was majestic as Escare, aided by Leon Pryce and Louis Anderson, cut through the right side of Wigan's defence before crossing the try-line. Thomas Bosc converted as the visitors led 6-0.
Pomeroy then used all his strength to finish off a flowing passing move, again with Pryce involved, for the second try. Bosc was off target with his kick at goal.
Wigan improved slightly as they trapped Pryce behind his own line following Blake Green's cute grubber kick and this time they made the possession count as they built on pressure caused by a half break from George Williams.
The ball was eventually swung right and Bowen threw a couple of dummies before forcing his way over. Smith missed the conversion.
The first score of the second half was going to be crucial and it looked like Wigan were trying too hard as Farrell was guilty of coughing up possession twice early in the tackle count and the Frenchmen took advantage.
A high bomb from Pryce was spilled on contact in the tackle by Bowen and that allowed Escare to scoop up the loose ball and go over under the posts. Bosc converted for a 16-4 lead.
When Wigan could keep hold of the ball they were looking dangerous and they proved that as Smith and O'Loughlin combined to send Charnley in at the corner to give the champions a lifeline - Smith's conversion attempt was good as they again trailed by six.
Wigan were getting the rub of the green on the penalty count and thought they had cut the deficit to two points when Burgess appeared to go over in the corner following a slick passing move, but the score was disallowed.
The hosts again had a try ruled out as Bowen's final ball to Charnley went forward. Yet Wigan's domination finally paid off as Farrell collected a short offload from Smith to go over, and the scrum-half then converted to level it up at 16-16.
The Warriors had an opportunity to go in front for the first time in the 73rd minute but Smith's penalty attempted sailed wide and he then had two drop-goal attempts charged down.
Michael Oldfield looked like he had secured a vital point for the Dragons as he stopped a rampaging Burgess and forced him into touch.
But Wigan and Bowen in particular had one more ace to play.