Wigan Warriors 60 Hull KR 0

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

JOE Burgess bagged a hat-trick for a second successive week as ruthless Wigan cruised past Hull KR.

A day after pace-setters Leeds again stumbled in front of the Sky Sports cameras, the Warriors cut loose to score 11 tries - and register their second ‘nil’ in less than three weeks.

It was their sixth win in seven matches - by contrast, they had won just two of their previous seven - and it stretched their impressive unbeaten home run which trails back to last June.

Wigan scored 34 of their points inside a whirlwind 17-minutes early on, effectively ending the game as a contest.

While neutrals watching on TV may have lamented the one-sided affair, Wigan fans applauded an accomplished, polished display.

And - after the plaudits earned by the right-side attack, particularly in the victory against Warrington - it was pleasing to see the left side wreak so much havoc. Burgess, Dan Sarginson and Liam Farrell all scored tries, and linked well with fast-maturing George Williams.

Farrell, in particular, was outstanding in a team oozing confidence and energy.

But as good as the Warriors were, even they may have been surprised at the ease of the procession. Hull KR beat them 22-20 in March, but from the early stages it was evident there was little risk of the Cherry and Whites suffering their first ‘double’ defeat of the season.

Lee Mossop’s omission was the only surprise to Wane’s team, which saw Joel Tomkins switch to centre to replace injured Anthony Gelling, and Ryan Sutton and Larne Patrick step back into the frame.

Hull KR saw much greater upheaval. Prolific goal-kicking winger Josh Mantellato was allowed to miss the game to attend his brother’s wedding Down Under, while fellow Australians Terry Campese and Dane Tilse were missing. They were also called into making a late team shuffle after forward Kevin Larroyer withdrew.

Wigan may have smelled blood when they saw the team-sheet, and they wasted little time in asserting their authority - scoring four tries without Hull KR getting their hands on the ball.

Prop Dom Crosby, who opened their account at Wakefield a week earlier, again charged over to make it 6-0.

And from the resulting set, Dan Sarginson unleashed Burgess on the left wing for a scorching first.

The Robins looked shell-shocked, and when they kicked out on the full it invited the home side into their half, and Farrell cut through on a razor sharp attack.

Minutes later, the England forward turned provider, bursting through a weak defence and then finding the supporting Burgess with a well-picked pass.

When KR finally got their hands on the ball - to ironic cheers from their own fans - Kieran Dixon knocked on.

By contrast, Wigan were stylish and slick with the ball, but it wasn’t all about the tries they scored - the appreciative crowd applauded powerful charges by Crosby and Ben Flower.

Burgess was denied a hat-trick inside 18 minutes for a forward pass, but in-form No.6 Williams piled on the points when - to his astonishment - the line opened up in front of him and he darted over from short-range.

Farrell fumbled an attempt at a second - and duly booted the ball into Ben Cockayne’s face in frustration, for which he apologised. Tony Clubb limped off with a twisted knee, and the quality of the game nosedived for a spell.

But when Adam Walker went in hard on a grounded Smith, prompting Taulima Tautai to react, the game - and the fans - reignited.

And within five minutes of the restart, Sarginson profited when Williams’ angled kick was palmed back by a leaping Burgess, and the England centre scored try No.7.

Harassed and disjointed, Hull KR showed little sign of improving, spilling the ball in their next two sets and inviting punishment - which the home side took great satisfaction in inflicting.

This time, it was Dom Manfredi - the only English player on the shortlist for Super League’s player of the month - who weaved through a crowded defence for his 8th try in four games.

The only disappointment for the home side was the sight of Greg Burke - on a season-long loan at KR - limping off.

But the Warriors kept the pedal to the metal, sweeping over for two tries to push well past the half-century mark.

First, Tautai thundered onto Smith’s neat short pass to cross for his first try in Wigan’s colours, before Williams showed his evasiveness and speed to beat three defenders to the line.

Flower was another casualty, limping off with a leg injury, but it didn’t disrupt the flow as Burgess collected Williams’ chip for his third try, powering clear at the top of the try-scoring chart with 13. Smith finished the game with eight goals from 11 attempts.

Wigan: Hampshire; Manfredi, J Tomkins, Sarginson, Burgess; Williams, Smith; Crosby, McIlorum, Flower, Farrell, Bateman, Patrick. Subs: Powell, Clubb, Tautai, Sutton.

Hull KR: Dixon; Cockayne, Welham, Sio, Guzdek; Blair, Kelly; Walker, Boudebza, Burke, Horne, McCarthy, Donaldson. Subs: Green, Ollett, Robinson, Esslemont.

Half-time: 34-0

Attendance: 11,468

Starman: Liam Farrell

Referee: Phil Bentham