Report: Wigan Warriors claim record-equalling fifth World Club Challenge in bruising match

Wigan Warriors claimed a record-equalling fifth World Club Challenge with a 16-12 win over NRL’s Penrith Panthers as a sold-out DW Stadium were treated to a game that will live long in the memory.
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Despite spending the majority of the game inside their own half, three chances was enough for three tries for the reigning Super League champions with scores through Abbas Miski, Kruise Leeming, and Jake Wardle.

It was a memorable night for the 24,091-strong crowd, alongside pre-match entertainment from Heather Small and Russell Watson alongside a fireworks display.

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The win sees Wigan with five titles alongside NRL’s Sydney Roosters.

Warriors’ goal-line defence was tested inside the first minute as Willie Isa lost the ball on the first set, but pressure on young Jack Cole saw the stand-off tackled on the last by Kaide Ellis.

And the hosts were rewarded early through the game’s opening try on eight minutes. Bevan French with a slick cut-out pass to send Miski over untouched in the right corner for a 4-0 advantage.

Under more pressure in defence, full-back Jai Field prevented a score on his own try-line with Samoa international Brian To’o charging into space.

Jake Wardle scored the match-winning tryJake Wardle scored the match-winning try
Jake Wardle scored the match-winning try
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But the NRL champions hit back just before the half hour mark to take a 6-4 lead. A contest in the air saw Miski fail to collect a high kick and the ball fell in Mitch Kenny’s arms, with the hooker feeding superstar Cleary to score untouched from 10 metres out.

It was like-for-like as Wigan regained their lead before losing it again before the half-time break.

Kruise Leeming crossed for his second try in his second game in cherry & white. The interchange hooker supported a break out-wide that involved French, Adam Keighran, Miski and Isa, with Harry Smith converting for a 10-6 score.

But full-back Dylan Edwards gave Penrith a 12-10 lead with a minute left on the clock, finding space in the middle of Wigan’s defence to crash over despite the best efforts from Field and back-rower Liam Farrell.

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England international Jake Wardle then continued the trend, scoring what turned out to be match-winning try as the centre powered his way over from a Field kick with the video referee approving the on-field decision of a try for 16-12.

Super League’s own superstar Field came up with the tackle of the game with just 10 left on the clock. The 26-year-old Australian stopping Taylan May from scoring in the corner with an unbelievable tackle after offering the breaking centre the outside, knowing he had the pace to make it.

The try of the season then nearly followed, only for French’s effort to chase down a Smith kick to be disallowed for offside by the video referee.

And the nerves didn’t go away. The video referee was required once again this time for May’s effort in the corner on the hooter, with the on-field decision of no-try supported to hand Wigan their fifth World Club Challenge win.