A hat-trick from Liam Farrell helped Wigan crush Wakefield 46-16 at the DW Stadium.
Adrian Lam made three changes to his Wigan side that lost to St Helens last week. Joe Burgess, Tommy Leuluai and Joe Bullock all dropped out of the squad with injuries.
Ethan Havard, Jarrod Sammut and Tony Clubb came into the team. Bulgaria-born Havard made his first-team debut.
Wakefield coach Chris Chester made four changes to his outfit that lost to Castleford last time out. Mason Caton-Brown, Jordan Crowther, Craig Kopczak and Keegan Hirst were absentees.
Max Jowitt, Chris Annakin, David Fifita and Tyler Randell were brought into the Trinity squad.
Wigan were on fire in the first half as they scored six unanswered tries through Liam Farrell (2), Zak Hardaker, Willie Isa, Jake Shorrocks and Sammut.
Ryan Hampshire scored two for Wakefield in the second half but Wigan duo Oliver Gildart and Farrell also crossed for tries.
Max Jowitt went over late on for Wakefield but it was only to be a consolation as Wigan ran-out 46-16 winners.
Three talking points
The Liam Farrell effect
Farrell is a big miss for Wigan when he isn’t on the field and that proved to be the case earlier on in the season when results weren’t going their way.
The 29-year-old returned from a long-term injury lay-off in June and since he came back, Wigan have won six out of seven and are now in very good form.
Farrell is a member of Wigan’s leadership group and it’s not hard to see why. He is a natural talent, has a brilliant attitude and does all the little things right. The ‘Ginger Pearl’ is proving to be Wigan’s lucky charm at the minute. Oh yeah, a hat-trick isn’t bad either…
Wigan’s brutal defence
The Warriors have always prided themselves on defence and at times this season they have lost their way but they are coming good at exactly the right time of the year.
Under former coach Shaun Wane, Wigan were brilliant in defence and that’s what came first. The team look to be getting back to that ‘zero tolerance’ attitude now under Lam and they look solid.
Wigan are defending for one another and even when Wakefield scored their first try at 34-6, the Warriors players looked gutted to have conceded.
Worrying times for Wakefield
Trinity have now lost eight from their last nine games and are in a real slump at the moment, which seems to be eating into them as the weeks go by.
Injuries are being cruel to them and I bet coach Chester struggles to remember the last time he had a fully fit squad to choose from.
It’s not an excuse for Wakefield but having star players sat on the sideline certainly doesn’t do them any favours. Could they be sucked right into the relegation battle?
Line-ups and ratings
Wigan: Hardaker (8); Hankinson (7), Sarginson (7), Gildart (8), Marshall (7); Williams (8), Sammut (7); Navarrete (7), Powell (7), Partington (8), Isa (8), Farrell (9), Smithies (7). Subs: Shorrocks (7), Havard (7), Clubb (7), Byrne (8).
Tries: Farrell 3, Hardaker, Isa, Shorrocks, Sammut, Gildart Goals: Hardaker 7/8
Wakefield: Jowitt (5); Hampshire (6), Tupou (5), Lyne (4), Jones-Bishop (4); Miller (4), Brough (4); Tanginoa (5), Randell (4), England (4), Batchelor (4), Arundel (4), King (4). Subs: Fifita (5), Wood (4), Annakin (4), Pauli (4).
Tries: Hampshire 2, Jowitt Goals: Brough 2/3
I’m not saying Wigan are going to win the Super League Grand Final just yet – but I do reckon they have a good chance of reaching Old Trafford this year.
They had an off-day against St Helens last week but certainly rectified their mistakes by torturing an injury-hit Wakefield outfit. Wigan are in very good form and it wad good to see another debutant in Havard.
As for Wakefield, they are only two points above the ‘fight for survival’, with Huddersfield, Leeds Hull KR and London only just below them. They need to pick up wins and fast.