SEAN O’Loughlin led Wigan back to winning ways with a valuable first-half contribution as the Warriors brushed Wakefield aside.
The steely captain scored two tries and characteristically worked tirelessly in attack and defence as his side clocked-up their first win of the new season.
O’Loughlin had a hand in teenage winger Dom Manfredi’s first senior try for the club in the fourth minute when he turned in the tackle to slip out a classy pass to Anthony Gelling to carry on the move.
But the Wildcats soon hit back. Once O’Loughlin had almost set up a try for Joe Burgess with a looping pass, Ali Lauitiiti muscled over from close range at the other end of the field to make their intentions of putting up a fight clear.
But the champions had other ideas, scoring five tries in a rampant 15-minute spell starting with Iain Thornley accepting a sharp Blake Green pass to score.
O’Loughlin’s first came as the 20-minute mark approached, with Matty Smith breaking near the halfway line before passing to his skipper.
And his second was again thanks to the work of a half-back. Green fired a strong kick into space which sat up perfectly in the in-goal area to allow the chasers to force a drop-out. From the resulting territory, the try was inevitable but it still took an impressive combination of footwork and strength to get over.
Gutsy teenage full-back Ryan Hampshire and John Bateman wrapped-up the Warriors’ first half scoring frenzy.
Hampshire’s 27th-minute effort from a Green kick early in the tackle count was particularly good to watch thanks to a 60-metre break from Tony Clubb straight from the kick off for the previous try.
Wakefield’s Danny Kirmond scored as half-time approached, with the gap being narrowed further by Peter Fox five minutes after the restart when he finished off a break by Pita Godinet who intercepted a Green pass.
But Wigan soon swung the balance back in their favour with three tries in an 11-minute spell starting with Green making amends for his previous wayward pass by sending Ben Flower crashing through a gap at close range.
Burgess enjoyed the pick of the second half tries with a brilliant 80-metre race to the line which the academy product won despite the attentions of Reece Lyne on his way to scoring.
Richie Mathers was sin-binned with 20 minutes to go for tacking Hampshire without the ball.
Liam Farrell scored during Mathers’ time in the cooler but Lyne had the final say when he raced the length of the field with seven minutes remaining.
Wigan Warriors: Ryan Hampshire; Joe Burgess, Anthony Gelling, Iain THornley, Dom Manfredi; Blake Green, Matty Smith; Ben Flower, Michael McIlorum, Scott Taylor, Liam Farrell, John Bateman; Sean O’Loughlin
Replacements: Logan Tomkins, Dom Crosby, Greg Burke, Tony Clubb
Tries: O’Loughlin 2, Manfredi, Thornley, Hampshire, Bateman, Flower, Burgess, Farrell
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Richard Mathers; Peter Fox, Paul Sykes, Luke Briscoe, Reece Lyne; Jarrod Sammut, Pita Godinet; Lucas Walshan, Paul McShane, Daniel Smith, Ali Lauitiiti, Danny Kirmond; Kyle Trout
Replacements: Danny Washbrook, Taulima Tautai, Matt Ryan, Jordan Crowther
Tries: Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Fox, Lyne
Goals: Sammut 4
READ PHIL WILKINSON’S FULL MATCH REPORT IN THE WIGAN EVENING POST (MONDAY) ...