Brisbane Broncos 42 Wigan Warriors 12
SHAUN Wane described Brisbane's master-class as 'the best thing' to happen to his Wigan side.
Wigan were out-scored seven tries to two as they crashed to a 42-12 defeat against the Broncos in the World Club Series.
Their misery was compounded by the loss of England hooker Micky McIlorum to a broken ankle.
But Wane insisted lessons will be learned from this landslide defeat.
He said: “We got beaten by a better team.
“They burned us - they had too many big athletes - and we couldn’t handle it.
“As daft as it sounds, that’ll be the best thing that happened to us, we need to use that as a springboard and learn from it.”
He confirmed McIlorum was taken to hospital in Manchester for treatment. Willie Isa and Matty Smith also suffered knee injuries.
“It was a costly one for us,” added Wane.
There was no shortage of effort or desire from his players but that was rarely matched by their skill or composure.
Classy Brisbane punished every Wigan error or missed-chance with ruthless precision. As painful as the defeat was for the 19,000-plus Warriors fans, it was also impossible not to marvel at the Broncos’ skill and swagger, quick-thinking and quicker outside backs.
After the previous night’s landslide at Langtree Park, when St Helens were crushed 38-12 by Sydney Roosters, the focus was on whether Wigan could restore Super League’s wounded pride.
But this was a similar story and the focus is now on whether Leeds can ensure the competition avoids another 3-0 whitewash by the NRL.
As expected, Oliver Gildart replaced injured Josh Charnley on the left wing and George Williams returned to the side which had won both their previous Super League games.
Wigan were well-beaten but there was a sense of misfortune to their first try conceded in the 10th minute when Corey Oates crossed in the corner. Replays suggested the Broncos winger may have had a foot on the line when he went over, but video referee Robert Hicks awarded the score.
The game was held up for several minutes when McIlorum was treated for a broken ankle, suffered as he and Ben Flower tackled Anthony Milford. He was stretchered off and faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
If there was a touch of good fortune to Brisbane’s opening try, the trend continued in the 17th minute when Milford’s angled kick ricocheted off the post padding, and the livewire Kodi Nikorima was on hand to score.
Wigan rallied and after a stinging shot by Tony Clubb on Sam Thaiday earned Wigan possession, Dan Sarginson crashed over from Liam Farrell’s short pass. Matty Smith’s goal cut Brisbane’s lead to 12-6.
But in the final eight minutes before half-time the visitors managed to open up an 18-point lead with two further tries, both involving great attacking lines and misreads by Wigan’s tiring defence.
First, Matt Gillett latched onto Nikorina’s sweet pass and, following a Gildart spill, Jarrod Wallace galloped over to make it 24-6 at the break.
Oates grabbed his second after the break before Nikorima touched down his own drilled grubber to extend their lead. The Kiwi international had watched his brother - who wants to play for Australia - carve open St Helens the night before.
Ex-Huddersfield back Greg Eden then raced beyond Gildart and went 80m to score on his Broncos debut.
Wigan never threw in the towel and their persistence paid off when Williams dived over, but it proved scant consolation.