Wigan Warriors comfortably beat Salford Red Devils 12-40 at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night in Round One of the 2018 Betfred Super League.
It was Salford who took an early lead through Kris Welham, however, seven tries without reply followed for the Warriors, as both Oliver Gildart and Liam Marshall got two tries each, while Tom Davies, Morgan Escare and Tony Clubb added to Wigan’s total score.
The Red Devils did get some consolation late on with a Niall Evalds effort but the Cherry and Whites eased past their local opponents to get the first two points of the new campaign.
In terms of team news, Salford’s Jack Littlejohn made his debut, as Luke Burgess also came for his second stint at the club. Dan Sarginson made his Super League return for Wigan but new signing and Australian Gabe Hamlin missed out.
With one eye set on the historic game against Hull FC in Australia next week, the Warriors looked set for a tricky night when Kris Welham entered a gap in the defence and eased over the line to give Salford an early lead.
However, Wigan replied soon after with youngster Tom Davies going over in the corner after a string of passes on the right edge. The visitors were in control in the 16th minute as Oliver Gildart latched onto a clever kick by George Williams and touched down to put his side in front.
Things got worse for Salford just before the break as George Griffin was sent to the bin by referee Robert Hicks for a dangerous tackle.
34' – George Griffin has been sin-binned for a dangerous tackle.
— Salford Red Devils (@SalfordDevils) February 2, 2018
Wigan raced away instantly in the second half through a Morgan Escare try, as the fullback collected the ball from a neat kick put through by Liam Marshall.
👊 @escare_morgan1 is back
TRY on his @WiganWarriorsRL return!
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) February 4, 2018
Liam Marshall then extended the Warriors’ lead to 6-26 with two tries in quick succession. The first came from an accurate Sam Tomkins kick into the in-goal line and the winger was there to touch down in the corner.
The kicking game proved to be the difference as Marshall got his brace after chipping the ball over Salford’s last man to dart over the line.
Ref: "Fifth and last."@LiamMarshall20: "Hold my beer"
— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪️ (@WiganWarriorsRL) February 3, 2018
Salford’s defence on the right side looked to be under pressure again as Marshall ran down the line and found the supporting Gildart who strolled through for his second of the match.
Prop Tony Clubb rounded off Wigan’s tally late on as his bulldozed his way past two Salford men and over the line.
Despite Salford’s Niall Evalds getting the last try as he dived over in the left corner, Wigan went on to claim a dominant win over the Red Devils.
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) February 2, 2018
Heading into the first ever Super League game played outside of Europe next week in Wollongong, Australia, the Warriors are in full confidence and sit in 3rd place in the Betfred Super League table.
Check out another match report by Alastair.