Wigan Warriors went up a gear in the second half to score 28 unanswered points to beat Wakefield
Last Updated: 01/04/21 8:31pm
Winger Jake Bibby scored his first Super League hat-trick to help Wigan to a comfortable 34-6 rout of Wakefield in the opening match of the Mose Masoe round in Betfred Super League.
The Warriors came from 18-0 down in their opening game to beat Leigh and they were again slow out of the blocks against a lively Trinity team that fully deserved their early 6-0 lead.
Loose forward Oliver Partington levelled the scores before half-time and Wigan cut loose in the second half with five tries without reply to make it two wins out of two.
Although boosted by the return of stand-off Jackson Hastings, Warriors coach Adrian Lam was forced to play two second row forwards, Willie Isa and Liam Farrell, in the centres in the absence of five outside backs.
However, both proved adept in their makeshift roles while Bibby, initially chosen to mark danger man Tom Johnstone, revelled in the wing role as he took his try total to five in the first two games of the campaign.
Johnstone, who showed his class with two long-range tries in Wakefield’s opening defeat by Leeds, had plenty of early touches but he was forced off with a head knock after 28 minutes and never returned.
That meant Trinity were forced to copy the Warriors in moving a back rower into the threequarters but not with half as much success.
Wakefield, who had Jay Pitts and Ryan Hampshire back in the side, dominated the opening quarter and ought to have had more to show for their efforts than a solitary try from prop David Fifita, who showed his strength by brushing off the attempted tackles of Isa and John Bateman to plough his way over.
Mason Lino’s goal made it 6-0 but the scores were level four minutes later when Partington reached the line from first receiver and got the ball down despite the last-ditch tackle of Jordan Crowther.
Under pressure for most of the half, Wigan looked dangerous on the counter-attack and substitute forward Joe Shorrocks should have made more of an overlap on the Wakefield right.
The Warriors played with more purpose after the break, though, and went in front after 46 minutes when veteran scrum-half Thomas Leuluai ran the ball on the last tackle and Isa got a neat pass out for Bibby to cross at the corner for his first try.
Zak Hardaker’s touchline conversion made it 12-6 and Wigan were in control when Farrell broke from his own 20-metre line and took play to halfway before finding Hardaker, who finished off a glorious counter-attack.
There was more to come when Bibby took another sublime pass from Isa and produced an acrobatic finish to claim his second try.
Hardaker took his goal tally to four from four to extend the lead to 24-6 and it would have been more had left winger Umyla Hanley been able to touch down the full-back’s grubber kick to the line but the son of Ellery fumbled the ball.
Wigan did manage a fifth try, though, with second rower Bateman forcing his way over from dummy half before Bibby collected Hardaker’s crossfield kick to complete his hat-trick four minutes from the end.