Wigan won their seventh game in eight as they defeated Hull KR 36-18 at the DW Stadium.
Adrian Lam made four changes to his side that beat Hull FC last week. Dan Sarginson, Romain Navarrete, Sean O’Loughlin and Jarrod Sammut dropped out of the side.
Chris Hankinson, Joe Greenwood, Bevan French and Ben Flower came in for the Warriors. French made his Super League debut after coming over from the NRL.
Hull KR head coach Tony Smith made four changes to his outfit that beat Castleford last time out. Kyle Trout, Will Dagger, Mikey Lewis and Owen Harrison came in for the Robins. Trout made his Hull KR debut since arriving from Dewsbury midweek, while young half-back Lewis made his Super League bow.
Craig Hall, Danny McGuire, George Lawler and Danny Addy dropped out for Hull KR.
Wigan took the lead through George Williams before Ryan Shaw levelled the score.
Liam Marshall put the home side back in front but Hull KR centre Ben Crooks went over to make the score 12-12 at the break.
The Warriors took their chances in the second half as Liam Farrell went over early after the second half restart.
Josh Drinkwater pulled one back for Hull KR in the 49th minute but Wigan then showed clinical attack. Joe Burgess, Tony Clubb and Farrell crossed for tries to seal a fine 36-18 win for the Warriors at home.
Three talking points
Wigan coming good at right time
The Warriors might not have started the year in the way they would have wanted but they are hitting good form when it matters.
Lam’s side have won seven of their last eight games and are eyeing up a spot in the top three come the end of the regular season.
A return to Old Trafford for the current champions seems more likely as each week goes by. Zak Hardaker is playing some incredible football at the back, too.
Lewis is a hot prospect
The 18-year-old has ripped up League 1 this year while on loan at Newcastle and he didn’t look out of place when he made his Super League debut for Hull KR on Friday night.
Lewis struggled a little bit in the first half with his defence against Wigan’s powerful left edge but he soon got himself into the game.
But his attacking game was a joy to watch. He bossed his side around the park and put a couple of neat kicks through. This certainly won’t be the last time we’ve seen Lewis in a KR shirt. He’s a talent.
Bevan adds French polish
French made his Super League debut since making the transfer from Parramatta Eels in the NRL. The Indigenous All Stars representative came off the bench to replace Burgess on the wing.
He looked pretty sharp when he entered the field and looked confident with the ball in hand. It was a steady debut for French but Wigan fans can be very excited about what is to come from him.
French scored 35 tries in 47 games for the Eels and has pace to burn. The good thing with French is that he’s so versatile as well, with him being able to play full-back, wing, centre or half-back.
Line-ups and player ratings
Wigan: Hardaker (8); Marshall (7), Hankinson (7), Gildart (8), Burgess (7); Williams (7), Leuluai (8); Clubb (8), Powell (7), Partington (8), Isa (7), Farrell (7), Smithies (7). Subs: Greenwood (6), French (6), Flower (6), Byrne (6).
Tries: Williams, Marshall, Farrell 2, Burgess, Clubb Goals: Hardaker 6/6
Hull KR: Quinlan (5); Shaw (6), Crooks (6), Keinhorst (5), Dagger (6); Lewis (7), Drinkwater (6); Masoe (6), Atkin (7), Murray (6), Tomkins (6), Hauraki (6), Hadley (5). Subs: Trout (6), Mulhern (7), Litten (6), Harrison (5).
Tries: Shaw, Crooks, Drinkwater Goals: Shaw 3/3
Wigan are doing the simple things really well at the moment and it is paying off for them. They are completing high and their last tackle plays are much better than they were in the first half of the year.
I feel like I mention it in every report but Ollie Partington is going to be a cracking prop in a few years. He has aggression, strength, work ethic and effort in his game. He’s brilliant to watch.
As for Hull KR, they missed too many opportunities. They had three clear chances to score in the first half and didn’t take them. The scoreline flatters Wigan because KR weren’t that far behind.
Elsewhere in Super League
Leeds Rhinos 48-8 Catalans Dragons