Warrington 0 Wigan 28

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

WIGAN took great delight in spoon-feeding Warrington some humble pie as they dined out on a five-try feast.

Warrington had vowed to “smash the pies” but they were left with egg on their face after running into a ruthless Warriors side.

Whatever happens between now and mid-October, this terrific performance will be remembered as one of Warriors’ highlights of the year.

In avenging a 17-6 loss here last month and claiming only their fifth win on the road this year, they gave their Grand Final aspirations renewed optimism.

Oliver Gildart crowned his debut with a stylish try and, if that wasn’t enough, the Wolves were kept scoreless at the HJ for the first time - and their faint play-offs hopes were put to rest.

Wigan scored five tries in all, two from John Bateman, as they controlled the ball in awful conditions - much better than their out-of-sorts opponents.

George Williams and Matty Bowen were lively in attack, and up front Tony Clubb frequently punched holes into the Wolves line.

But their defence was equally impressive. Energetic and aggressive, they bullied the Wolves’ pack and choked them of any real chances.

With Huddersfield beating St Helens the previous night, Wigan went into the game assured of second-spot - and looking to give themselves a three-point cushion on the chasing pair.

As expected, teenager centre Gildart made his first appearance for his hometown club - the first academy-product to debut this year - but there was no Micky McIlorum.

Sam Powell moved to No.9 in his absence, with Ryan Hampshire recalled to the bench after a spell out of the side.

Even before the teams had emerged, the strong following of Wigan fans were helping to create a carnival atmosphere in drizzly conditions. They were vocal in giving their backing - while Chris Sandow was the target of some of their banter!

Warrington handed a home debut to the Australian half, who had appeared in a promotional video promising to ‘Smash the Pies’.

But from the outset, it was Wigan’s forwards who did most of the smashing, bullying their opponents in a dominant display.

And the only surprise by half-time was the visitors had only managed to score two unanswered tries.

They went ahead in the fourth minute when Wolves No.1 Stefan Ratchford missed Williams’ stab-through, and Liam Farrell - who scored two tries last week in defeat at Leeds - collected to touch down. Bowen continued with the goal-kicking duties, and made it 6-0.

Some inventive, off-the-cuff play by Warrington looked nice but was largely ineffective.

Wigan, by contrast, were direct and well-drilled, and when Bowen’s neat footwork unlocked a weak defence, it put them in the position for Clubb to charge onto Matty Smith’s inside pass.

Ashton Sims was placed on report for appearing to aim a stamp on Lee Mossop’s hand at the play-the-ball.

Conditions doused attacking chances out wide, but on the stroke of half-time, Gildart collected a looping pass to cross the whitewash - only for a try to be ruled out for a forward pass.

Wolves started the second-half with intent. But the visitors weathered their brief energetic spell - Charnley was alert to save a try - and countered fantastically, makeshift centre Bateman sliding over for a third try converted by Bowen.

The full-back was in great form, and his angled kick was weighted to perfection for Dom Manfredi to palm the ball into Bateman’s path, for his second try. Bowen’s conversion bounced favourably off the upright.

Wigan were in ruthless form and their fifth and final try was the pick of the bunch.

Captain Sean O’Loughlin charged through an inviting gap, Williams advanced the ball and then fed Gildart, who had scorched up onto his outside. It pushed the scoreline out to 28-0.

As word passed that the Wolves had never been nilled at the HJ, the focus shifted to whether the Warriors could prevent them scoring - which they managed to do to complete an all-round impressive display.

Warrington: Ratchford; Penny, Wheeler, Atkins, Monaghan; Sandow, Myler; Hill, Clark, Sims, Westwood, Currie, Harrison. Subs: Dwyer, Asotasi, Philbin, King.

Wigan: Bowen; Charnley, Bateman, Gildart, Manfredi; Williams, Smith; Crosby, Powell, Flower, Tomkins, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Subs: Clubb, Hampshire, Mossop, Sutton.

Half-time: 0-12

Attendance: 10,095

Starman: Matty Bowen