Wigan Warriors 46 Salford 6

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

WIGAN turned on the style to register their first double of the season - and stretch their lead at the top of the ladder to three points.

The home side ran in nine tries in total, including two from Sam Tomkins to stretch his prolific run of form to 18 tries in his last nine matches.

Shaun Wane undoubtedly took as much satisfaction from the scoreline as he did on the opening day of the campaign when Warriors recorded a 42-0 victory.

And as soon as Josh Charnley opened their account as early as the second minute, there was a feeling it was going to be an onslaught.

The home side added four further tries before the break - from Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Sam Tomkins and Liam Farrell - to lead 22-0 at the break.

And with their foot pressed firmly to the ground they never let-up, treating the fans to some impressive play which more than compensated for the lack of a contest.

It was a regulation win, but Wigan’s display oozed class, energy and urgency.

The forwards had little trouble in penetrating the Salford defence, punching gaping holes in the defence which were ruthlessly punished by a razor-sharp backline in which Tomkins excelled.

Brian Noble, the man who gave Tomkins his debut, had enjoyed a win in his first game against Castleford a week ago. But he always knew he faced a tougher test against his former club.

And with Wigan well marshalled by halfbacks Blake Green and Matty Smith, across the board they were too fast, too powerful, too stylish for the visitors.

If ambitious owner Dr Marwan Koukash really does want tomake Salford into a Super League force, he was shown first hand how much work needs to be done.

Wigan scored their first points with their first real attack. Tomkins released a sweet pass to Darrell Goulding under pressure, and the centre showed good composure to send Charnley clear into space. Even then, the winger had some work to do, beating Marc Sneyd to the line.

Tomkins and Goulding combined again in the ninth minute to lay the platform, from which Sean O’Loughlin sent Flower charging to the whitewash.

And in the 15th minute, Thornley’s rapidfire passing exchange with Tomkins saw the full-back feed Anthony Gelling close to the line.

Gelling was making his first appearance in the side following a recent knee injury, in place of the rested Pat Richards. Cruelly, he had to leave the action clutching his shoulder - prompting a reshuffle which saw Jack Hughes come into centre and Thornley move to the flank.

Salford did improve, and a fiercer front made the challenges interesting, even if they never really troubled their hosts’ line.

In fact, Wigan were so comfortably in control they tried out new moves, including a short angled chip over by Green for Smith to chase, which was a bounce from bringing another score.

With the spectacle lulling around the half-hour mark, Tomkins injected a sense of urgency into proceedings, first rushing to take a penalty which carried them down field, and then jetting into the line to sweep over from close range. Surprisingly, Smith missed his fourth conversion attempt in a row - though in mitigation, he did suffer an early head injury which twice required him to change his blood-stained shirts.

Epa Lauaki came off the bench to make his first appearance of the year, to loud cheers from the fans. The prop made some strong carries and his return will further congest a front-row department - giving Wane a welcomed headache.

Wigan added a fifth try before the interval when Green took the line on and found Farrell charging on to his shoulder. Charnley took over the kicking duties and nailed the goal.

And the winger masterfully added a second early into the second-half, having first turned on the afterburners to score in the corner to make it 28-0.

Wigan were finding inviting holes in Salford’s rapidly-tiring line, not least when Harrison Hansen ripped it apart with a thunderous charge which merited, but didn’t bring him, a try. Lee Mossop returned from the bench and crossed with his first carry, bulldozing over to make it 34-0 once Charnley had improved.

And with Salford in decline, Tomkins too full advantage, bursting onto the ball to cross for his second of the night - and 150th of his career. His double also took him to 21st on the club’s try-scoring chart, level with Trevor Lake on 132.

But this was no one-man show, and Green’s determined effort presented Charnley with an easy conversion, which he struck to make it 46-0. The loss of Smith to an injury and a late consolation by Adam Walne took a little of the shine off a convincing display, a week before Wigan travel to Hull KR aiming for a place in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.