FLYER Josh Charnley toasted the first Super League hat-trick of his Wigan career – and quickly deflected the praise onto his team-mates.
The winger scored all of the Warriors’ tries in their 20-6 victory over champions Leeds last Saturday evening.
He showed great pace, poise and finishing skills in bagging the treble, but shied away from taking credit for the victory.
“There was a lot of good work from the boys in the middle, I was just in the right place to finish them off,” said the 20-year-old.
“I’ve never scored a hat-trick professionally, so it was nice to get it, but the important thing was we got the win and put in a good performance in front of our own fans, because we were all disappointed with the way we played against Huddersfield last week.”
Charnley, who scored an impressive 27 tries during his breakthrough campaign last year, echoed Shaun Wane’s comments that the contest was won in the middle.
“Leeds are pretty dangerous on the front foot, so we knew we had to keep them where we wanted them and press them, and the forwards did that – they were terrific,” he said.
Charnley scored two tries in a match on six occasions last year, but has had to wait to record his treble.
And the winger could have registered a fourth, had video referee Richard Silverwood not harshly ruled out his third-minute effort for interference in the build-up.
“I thought it was okay,” he said. “The player taken out was never going to get involved in the play.
“I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, but when they kept replaying it I had a feeling it would be disallowed.”
Wane handed a debut to 21-year-old prop Tom Spencer in place of the suspended Liam Farrell.
The ex-St Pat’s amateur – a former junior team-mate of Owen Farrell – came on for a 10-minute spell at the end.
“I thought Tom went well,” said Wane. “He was strong, and he deserved his chance because he’s worked really hard during pre-season.”
Wane also started with 20-year-old Jack Hughes at centre in place of the injured George Carmont and was impressed with the way he handled himself.
“Jack looked very strong,” said Wane. “He was up against a very experienced player in Carl Ablett.”