Hull KR faced a daunting trip to Wigan to take on a Warriors side who are still in second place despite being taken apart by the Leeds Rhinos last Thursday. KR picked up a win over a struggling Warrington Wolves side last time out which was a big confidence boost for the side under the temporary stewardship of Danny McGuire.
The bookies couldn´t see beyond a bounce back win for the Warriors and they game the Robins a twenty-four-point start in the handicap coupon, but as we push towards settling the end of season play-off places there have been some strange results across the Super League.
Would this be one of the strange ones, the usual hordes making the journey from Hull hoped so.
It was way too easy for Wigan as Bevan French opened the scoring after just two minutes, stepping inside an awful, attempted tackle from Lachlan Coote to go in from ten metres out. Harry Smith curled his conversion between the uprights for a 6-0 lead.
On seven Liam Marshall ran the angle to go in by the left corner flag for the second Wigan try after Ben Crooks spilled the ball. Marshall took the pass in acres of space to score from fifteen metres. This time Smith pulled his conversion across the posts, Wigan scoring at more than a point a minute.
Just after ten minutes Marshall found his route to the line blocked, but he put in a kick towards the posts which was collected by Mike Cooper and grounded under a crowd of defenders. Smith smashed his kick between the uprights for 16-0.
On twenty, Coote was at fault again, the bounce of the ball beating him, as French gathered a Jai Field kick to the side-line and summersaulted over the line to ground. Smith was again off target with the boot.
KR finally opened their account on twenty-nine when Ethan Ryan caught a Rowan Mills kick on the full five metres from the line and went over in the right corner. Coote pushed his kick across the front of the uprights, KR trailing by sixteen.
Just like the first half, it took Wigan just three minutes to start the second half scoring with Kai Pearce-Paul on hand down the left to take advantage of French tying the KR defence in knots. Smith added the conversion for 26-4.
On fifty Marshall was in for his second of the night, sprinting down the left wing to score from twenty metres out on the overlap. Smith was off target again, now fifty percent on the night, but the Warriors were 30-4 ahead.
French´s hat-trick came on sixty-three, again finding way too much space down the right wing to score from twenty metres out as he took a Smith miss-out pass. Smith was again off target but at 34-4 it didn´t really matter.
On seventy Patrick Mago somehow managed to burrow under the KR defence and took five defenders with him to force the ball to the ground over the line. Smith managed to add the extras to bring up the forty.
Three minutes later Marshall completed his hat-trick as he took a Smith high kick which had flummoxed the KR defenders to canter to the line. Smith was again accurate with the boot for 46-4.
The game went entirely as the bookies, and most pundits, thought with an easy win for the home side to take them a little closer to Saints, and push KR back below FC on points difference and into eighth place in the table. It was the French and Marshall show as both wingers bagged hat-tricks, exploiting big gaps out wide as the Robins defence failed to slide and cover.
Wigan Warriors: Field, French (3T), Halsall, Pearce-Paul (T), Marshall (3T), Cust, Smith (5G), Cooper (T), Powell, Byrne, Isa, Farrell, Smithies. Subs: Mago (T), Ellis, Partington, O´Neill.
Hull KR: Coote, Ryan (T), Wood, Crooks, Tate, Dagger, Milnes, Fishwick, Parcell, King, Minchella, Royle, Litten. Subs: Maher, Laulu-Togaga´e, Cavanaugh, Moore.
Score Progression: 4,0, 6-0, 10-0, 14-0, 16-0, 20-0, 20-4 : HT : 24-4, 26-4, 30-4, 34-4, 38-4, 40-4, 44-4, 46-4 : FT.
Lead Exchanges: Wigan.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths.