WIGAN will head to Wembley in white-hot form after a 12-try super-show.
Michael Maguire’s charges turned a slender 18-12 lead at the break into a 60-12 thrashing with eight unanswered tries in a sizzling second-half.
It was the first time this year that the Warriors have hit 60, and the confidence-boosting scoreline could hardly have come at a better time, ahead of their Challenge Cup Final appearance in seven days’ time.
Maguire said: “We spoke in the week about wanting to nail a performance and it was pleasing to see we did that.
“That second-half had to be up there with our best halves this year, they did the little things for one another and worked hard for one another, and that was the pleasing thing.”
Australian winger Pat Richards missed six from 12 shots at goal but grabbed a hat-trick, and Sam Tomkins reached the milestone of scoring 50 Super League tries with a double – his second a stunning length-of-the-field effort.
There were also braces for George Carmont and Josh Charnley, while the outstanding Sean O’Loughlin and Harrison Hansen also crossed.
Maguire added: “The boys are really enjoying playing for each other. It says a lot about this group that they stayed focussed and put in a performance like this.”
Thankfully, all the stars emerged from the game unscathed, with Carmont shrugging off a leg injury to finish the game.
And Maguire was also pleased to see Eamon O’Carroll return for his first match in 15-months following a career-threatening injury.
“It says a lot about him, to come back from the injury he had,” added the coach.
And while a Cup Final place may be beyond O’Carroll’s reach, Maguire will have a headache over which other props to select – both Gareth Hock and Paul Prescott impressed last night, yet the rested Lee Mossop and Andy Coley will be back in the frame for the Wembley showdown with Leeds next Saturday.
Bulls coach Mick Potter said: “Wigan were very good, they are a quality team and they’re top of the team for a reason. They have speed across the park and they’re a complete footy team.”
Potter hailed Sam Tomkins’ broken-field play as “phenomenal” and among the best attackers in world rugby league.