Wigan booked their place in the Quarter-Final of the Challenge Cup after a comfortable victory over Salford at the DW Stadium.
Tries from Liam Byrne, Liam Marshall and John Bateman secured the win for the Warriors. They also claimed their first shutout of the season.
Wigan made two changes to the team that beat Castleford last week. Sam Halsall came out at centre, with Harry Smith also making way. Jake Bibby returned in the starting line-up, while Joe Shorrocks returned to the bench.
Meanwhile, Salford made three changes to the side that beat Leeds. Ken Sio and Shane Wright are ruled out with injury, while Greg Burke also drops out of the 17. Rhys Williams was back for Salford, alongside James Greenwood and Josh Johnson.
After a wave of pressure, Wigan were able to draw first blood after 12 minutes. Liam Byrne came onto a short ball from Sam Powell and he crashed over by the posts. Zak Hardaker kicked the conversion to put the Warriors into a six-point lead.
Just three minutes later, Wigan doubled their lead. Liam Marshall went up for the ball with Deon Cross, and was judged not to have touched the ball after a long video review. Marshall was then able to ground the ball by the posts. Hardaker added the conversion.
Wigan stretched their lead further just before the half-hour. Hardaker kicked a penalty after Andy Ackers was judged to have caught Cade Cust high in front of the posts.
Just a couple of minutes later, James Greenwood was taken off the pitch after landing awkwardly following a tackle. The tackle was then placed by report by referee Robert Hicks.
HT- Wigan 14-0 Salford
The first try of the second half felt crucial, and it was Wigan who got it to all but seal the game. Zak Hardaker managed to get free, and put John Bateman over the line for the try. Hardaker then added the conversion to get Wigan up to 20 points.
Just before the hour, Wigan almost added to their lead. Sam Powell’s kick deflected and fell kindly for him, but he could not take the ball in, and knocked on in-goal.
The Warriors will find out their next opponents in the Challenge Cup on Saturday. Meanwhile, their next Super League match sees them welcome Hull FC on Thursday.
FT- Wigan 20-0 Salford
Wigan: Field, Hardaker, Pearce-Paul, Bibby, Marshall, Cust, Leuluai, Smithies, Powell, Byrne, Farrell, Bateman, Isa. Subs: Mago, Havard, Partington, Shorrocks.
Tries: Byrne, Marshall, Bateman Goals: Hardaker 4/4
Salford: Brierley, Williams, Cross, Lafai, Burgess, Croft, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Wells, Lannon, Greenwood, Taylor. Subs: Vuniyayawa, Atkin, Johnson, Gerrard.
More forward concerns for Salford
James Greenwood had come back into the squad in place of the injured Shane Wright. Wright will be out for a couple of months with a hamstring issue. However, after 25 minutes, he was forced off the pitch after landing awkwardly after a tackle. Tommy Leuluai came down in the tackle, and he ended up rolling his ankle. This was put on report by referee Robert Hicks, but there was debate as to whether or not it should have gone further.
Wigan’s centre conundrum
Following the first try of the night, Kai Pearce-Paul needed treatment for a groin injury, and ultimately could not carry on. With Iain Thornley out since round one with an ankle injury, it brings up the debate again of who will play in the centre for Wigan. Last year, both Willie Isa and Liam Farrell moved there for a period when Oliver Gildart was recovering from post-season surgery.
Strong defensive performance from Wigan
The Warriors managed to get through the game without conceding a single point. Every player put in a good shift in defence, and their efforts showed. Whenever the ball was worked out to wing, Wigan’s enthusiasm was often able to get the player into touch or force an error from Salford.