Wigan Warriors 28 Salford Red Devils 12: Five things we learned
Five things we learned from Wigan's 28-12 home win against Salford...
1. A fourth straight win and fourth in the ladder - not a bad return to the DW after six weeks on the road!
It is the first time Wigan have been in the play-offs positions this year, and they will remain there this weekend if Catalans fail to beat Leeds and Castleford don't overhaul the Warriors' superior points difference against London on Sunday.
And the result itself wasn't the only positive...
2. George Williams was a constant menace, and it was good to see energetic Jarrod Sammut get the chance to show his craft.
Elsewhere, Tony Clubb, Sam Powell, and young forwards Morgan Smithies and Ollie Partington impressed in a well-balanced display.
Wigan looked very much in control of the game, only a mix-up between Liam Marshall and Zak Hardaker gifting Salford a sniff on the stroke of half-time, before they pulled away from the restart.
And encouragingly, there were areas they need to improve, such as...
3. This wasn't the slickest Wigan display, perhaps understandable given the loss of Liam Farrell before the game and Sean O'Loughlin in the opening minutes
The left-edge of Joe Burgess and Oliver Gildart, so lethal at times this year, were starved of the attacking opportunities they crave.
But the win was under-pinned by a tigerish defensive display which will send them into next Friday's game against Hull KR in confident mood. Can they make it five from five?
Farrell should be back but O'Loughlin is a doubt - let's hope his Achilles injury isn't serious.
4. All eyes were on Wigan-target Jackson Hastings, and most of Salford's good work was channeled through him.
He's a strong runner and an astute organiser; he's also got the competitive streak which will endear him to fans if he, as expected, makes the move to the DW next year.
Salford winger Jake Bibby has already been recruited for 2020; he played but had few chances to catch the eye.
5. Salford assistant coach Martin Gleeson departs within days to switch codes to join Wasps as an attack coach.
Fittingly, his last away match with the Red Devils was to his hometown club.
Gleeson, praised by coach Ian Watson afterwards, will be fondly remembered for his Grand Final heroics for the Warriors in 2010. Good luck to him on the next chapter of his career.