Friday 1st February 2013, 20:00 - Round:1
Salford City Reds
|T||Sam Tomkins 3, Matty Smith, Josh Charnley, Iain Thornley, Pat Richards, Liam Farrell,|
Pat Richards 5,
Attendance: 5,383 Official: J Child Venue: Salford City Stadium
Sam Tomkins underlined his status as Super League's poster boy by launching the new season with a hat-trick in an emphatic Wigan Warriors win at Salford City Reds.
The Warriors' star full-back ran in three of his side's eight tries to puncture a party atmosphere at the Salford City Stadium sparked by the Reds' recent takeover.
Yet after coming perilously close to folding in the close season, the hosts will take heart from a spirited display.
Five-goal Pat Richards, Matty Smith, Josh Charnley, Iain Thornley and Liam Farrell also touched down for Wigan.
The change of mood at Salford after their winter of turmoil was evident before kick-off as new owner Dr Marwan Koukash was introduced to the crowd.
And while Koukash's arrival may have come too late to infuse Phil Veivers' squad with much extra quality, a strong collective spirit was initially evident.
Jack Murphy, who joined the Reds on loan from Wigan this week, made a positive start against his parent club as he raced across to gather a loose ball as Charnley threatened.
Yet the Warriors did not spare Murphy and exposed him on a number of occasions as the hosts were pushed back.
Salford held firm for a spell but were eventually caught out after 13 minutes as Wigan debutant Blake Green sent Farrell through a gap.
Green offered support but Farrell dummied and continued his run before handing Tomkins the simple task of touching down.
Salford rallied as highly-rated French youngster Theo Fages, partnering veteran Ryan McGoldrick at half-back, showed promising signs on debut with a 40-20 kick.
That allowed the Reds the chance to peg Wigan back in front of their own line but they were unable to pierce the defence.
Wigan extended their advantage 12 minutes before the interval as Smith sidestepped through a gap and barged through the challenge of Murphy on the goalline to score.
There was further anguish for Murphy just three minutes later as he dropped a long Wigan kick into touch in dangerous territory.
Wigan worked the ball excellently from the resulting scrum and Charnley found room out wide from a Tomkins pass to beat Jodie Broughton and score.
The quickfire double broke the challenge of Salford and the best they could muster in response was a move which took Murphy close to the line and gave McGoldrick the chance to kick.
Tomkins cleared the danger and although Sean O'Loughlin was penalised for a high tackle on Fages, Wigan were not worried.
Even after Gil Dudson was sin-binned early in the second half for interference - referee James Child having warned the team before the break - Salford rarely threatened.
Wigan claimed their fourth try when Sam Powell's grubber kick was seized by Thornley.
The Reds were undone again on the hour as Tomkins broke and Richards cut between two tacklers to cross in the corner.
Another try swiftly followed as Thornley found Richards and Farrell ran through to score from his pass.
Tomkins underlined his class with a trademark individual effort which took him behind the posts with just over 12 minutes remaining.
He then completed his treble before the final hooter as Green outfoxed the defence to send the full-back through the posts.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals
Forty Twenty: 1
Clean Breaks: 3