REPORT: Wigan Warriors 50 Leigh Centurions 6
Wigan Warriors showed plenty of character at the DW Stadium on Sunday afternoon to claim their third Super League win over local rivals Leigh Centurions this season.
Playing their third game in 10 days, the Warriors lost centre Oliver Gildart in the warm up with a hamstring strain and Thomas Leuluai limped from the field after just 16 minutes while prop Brad Singleton received a red card along with Leigh's Jack Ashworth after an almighty first half punch-up.
But Wigan shrugged off their injury woes and the disappointment of Wednesday's defeat at Warrington as they ran in nine tries to run out convincing winners against the rock bottom Centurions whose search for their first win of the season goes on.
Umyla Hanley claimed a hat-trick of tries, while Liam Farrell touched down twice with other tries coming from Leuluai, Sam Halsall, Jake Shorrocks and Jackson Hastings while Harry Smith kicked seven goals in a comfortable success.
Leigh's points came from an early Liam Hood try and Jamie Ellis conversion.
The Warriors faithful would have also been delighted with the return of second rower John Bateman after he narrowly missed out on playing against the Wolves after pulling up sore in the captain’s run.
The back-rower had been missing since he picked up an ankle injury playing for England against the Combined Nations All Stars in June and started on the bench but was soon in the action early and returned as though he had never been away with some powerful trademark runs causing the Centurions plenty of problems.
Bateman took the place of Ethan Havard, who sustained a hip injury in the defeat at the Halliwell Jones, while Hanley came in on the wing for Liam Marshall who sustained a head knock in that match.
And following Gildart's last minute withdrawal Halsall was drafted into the squad on the wing and claimed his first try for the club with a second half effort and also created one for Hastings with a delicate kick much to the delight of the home supporters in a crowd of 9.206..
Harry Smith produced one of his best performances of the season to claim the man of the match award as he was a constant thorn in the Leigh defence all afternoon and looked to have been getting in plenty of practice in with his kicking as he gave a much improved display with the boot.
It was an all action start to the game with three tries in the opening 12 minutes seeing Wigan take an early 12-6 advantage.
Leuluai skipped through the Leigh defence to race over from 20 metres out after just three minutes, but the Leigh response was almost immediate as Hood pinched a soft try from dummy half to level matters.
A superb pass from Hastings then allowed Hanley to tiptoe down the touchline for his first of the game with Smith landing both early conversions from wide out.
The game then exploded when Leigh's Ashwoth and Wigan's Singleton exchanged a flurry of punches with players running in from all angles in an unsightly skirmish which resulted in the two being shown a red card by referee Scott Mikalauskas.
As things cooled down it was Wigan who kept their heads and produced some wonderful skills to add three further tries before the interval.
A mazy run from Bateman and a flick on from Hastings allowed Farrell to score and then Farrell turned provider as his accurate pass allowed Hanley to score his second of the game in the corner.
Then after the half time hooter had sounded Smith made a superb midfield break and Farrell was on hand to take his pass for an excellent try and with Smith landing two further conversions the Warriors were in command at 28-6 at half time.
Halsall's first try for the club 12 minutes into the second half ensured there was to be no comeback for Leigh as Shorrocks claimed Wigan's seventh try after superb approach play by Bourouh and Smith.
With the game won the game became a little scrappy in the final quarter but Wigan had the final say in as Halall's kick allowed Hastings to score and then Hanley completed his hat-trick four minutes from time to pile on the misery for the Centurions.
Wigan: Hastings; Halsall, Isa, Bibby, Hanley; Leuluai, Smith; Singleton, Powell, Partington, Farrell, Pearce-Paul, Shorrocks. Subs: Bateman, Byrne, Clarke, Bourouh
Leigh: Elliot; Mullen, Sau. Thornley, Brand; Mellor, Ellis; Butler, Hood, Ioane, Gee, Hellewell, Thompson. Subs: Wildie, Ashworth, Sidlow, Gerrard.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas