Joe Burgess scored a hat-trick to help Wigan secure back-to-back victories for the first time this season after beating Catalans 42-0 at the DW Stadium.
Adrian Lam made four changes to his Wigan side that won at Salford Red Devils last week. Ollie Partington, Liam Paisley, Liam Byrne and Morgan Smithies came in for Tony Clubb, Joe Greenwood, Sean O’Loughlin and Gabe Hamlin. Smithies made his debut for the Warriors.
Catalans coach Steve McNamara has made two changes to his outfit that beat Leeds Rhinos last time out. Greg Bird and Sam Moa replaced Alrix Da Costa and Antoni Maria.
The Warriors posted the first points as Burgess latched onto a kick from George Williams to rise above Lewis Tierney and score. Zak Hardaker’s conversion edged the hosts into a 6-0 lead after 21 minutes.
Hardaker added a penalty goal on the verge of the half-time hooter to put Wigan 8-0 ahead at the break.
Burgess got his second shortly after the second half restart, while Williams and Oliver Gildart also went over to put Wigan 26-0 ahead.
Winger Burgess completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute after stealing the ball from Matt Whitley. It was Burgess’ seventh hat-trick for the Warriors.
Hardaker and Jarrod Sammut scored their first tries for the Warriors late on to seal a 42-0 win for Lam’s side.
Three talking points
Warriors’ backline looking good
Wigan’s back five is currently the strongest it can possibly be and although the club haven’t started the season in good form, their backline could be key to helping them reach the top five.
Hardaker has been solid all season and has – arguably – been Wigan’s best player so far in 2019. Dom Manfredi and Burgess are very good at bringing the ball of yardage and always have a line break in them.
Gildart and Dan Sarginson are solid options to have in the centres for Lam. Gildart has flair going forward, while Sarginson boasts a good step and fend.
Wigan’s future looks bright
It’s no secret that Wigan are currently struggling with injuries to their forward pack, with the likes of O’Loughlin, Greenwood, Clubb, Hamlin, Liam Farrell and Taulima Tautai (suspended), but the club’s future certainly looks promising.
The Warriors are one of the best clubs in rugby league for bringing players through and another player made his first-team debut in Smithies. He is one of the hottest prospects in English rugby league and it wasn’t hard to see why.
But there were another set of rising stars also on show for Wigan. Paisley, Partington and Byrne also impressed in Wigan’s pack and mixed it up with the huge size of the Dragons.
Catalans pack lacked grunt
Looking at the teamsheet before the game, it was clear to see that Catalans had by far the stronger pack in terms of quality and experience.
But their forwards didn’t play like a pack we are all used to seeing from the Dragons. They didn’t get on top of Wigan and they didn’t make as many metres as expected through the middle.
But it’s important to pay credit to Wigan’s young forwards, who certainly stood up to the test and probably surprised the Dragons. They will need to bring back their aggression for next week’s home game against St Helens.
Line-ups and ratings
Wigan: Hardaker (8); Manfredi (8), Sarginson (7), Gildart (8), Burgess (9); Williams (8), Sammut (7); Bullock (8), Leuluai (7), Navarrete (7), Isa (6), Paisley (8), Partington (7). Subs: Shorrocks (7), Flower (7), Smithies (8), Byrne (7).
Tries: Burgess (3), Williams, Gildart, Hardaker, Sammut Goals: Hardaker 7/9
Catalans: Tomkins (5); Yaha (6), Langi (5), Wiliame (4), Tierney (4); Gigot (5), Smith (4); Casty (6), Albert (4), Moa (6), Edwards (6), Whitley (4), Bird (5). Subs: Bousquet (5), Goudemand (4), Baitieri (6), Kasiano (5).
Are Wigan finally getting back to their old self? It is still a bit early to be confident about that, but things are certainly looking up for Lam’s side.
It wasn’t their performance against Catalans, but their young pack won the arm wrestle against a huge Catalans side and they looked calm and composed going forward. Their edge players are going to be vital as we head into the Easter period.
As for Catalans, they just didn’t look interested at times and will be disappointed with their performance when they reflect back on the game in the coming days. On paper, they’ve got one of the best teams in Super League, but they need to start showing it in away games after only winning one game on the road in 2019.
Elsewhere in Super League
Huddersfield Giants beat London Broncos 38-26 at the Ealing Trailfinders.
Joe Wardle, Jordan Turner, Akuila Uate (2), Jermaine McGillvary, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Alex Mellor scored for the Giants.
Wakefield Trinity edged past Salford Red Devils 33-22 at the Mobile Rocket Stadium.
David Fifita, Ryan Hampshire, Reece Lyne, Pauli Pauli and Jacob Miller crossed the whitewash for Trinity.