Wigan Warriors Prove They Are The Real Deal With Dominant Win Over Salford

Individual stars shone in Salford as Wigan put in a spectacular second half showing
22:05, 10 Jun 2022

Bevan French scored a hat-trick and man of the moment Liam Marshall continued his remarkable run of form with two tries, as Wigan Warriors beat Salford Red Devils 30-12 at the AJ Bell Stadium. Marshall, who has now scored five tries in his last four matches, including the dramatic Challenge Cup winner, is in the form of his life as the Cherry and Whites put in a devastating second half display. 

Marshall has struggled in recent years with knee injuries but finally it seems those problems are behind him as Matty Peet gets the best out of him, and his team. On a night when Huddersfield Giants defeated Leeds Rhinos at the Kirklees, Wigan cemented their place in the top two of the Super League thanks to some remarkable individual displays from Bevan French, Jai Field and Liam Marshall. 

French’s hat-trick was like a showreel of his greatest hits. The pace was phenomenal, the handling immense and his composure admirable as he put on a dazzling display to bag his first hat-trick in two years. On the day Liam Farrell celebrated a new three-year contract at the DW Stadium, everything went right for the Challenge Cup Champions. 

Five tries in 20 second half minutes devastated a beleaguered Salford side and the other side of the coin is a dismal second half showing from Paul Rowley's team. Ahead of the game, he stated that he only had 19 available players for this game as the Red Devils limped their way to the international break after a rotten run of luck with injuries. 

A late Deon Cross try meant they avoided getting nilled on this ground for the first time since 2015, but given Wigan did it to them at their place in the Challenge Cup and they’ve lost three times to them this year, the Red Devils will be glad to see the back of them. Despite the heavy defeat, the first half was incredibly close. 

Warriors took the lead thanks to that man Marshall, who found space on the left and flicked the ball inside to half-back Harry Smith, who was in acres of space to finish. It was a role reversal of the Challenge Cup final, as Smith set up Marshall for that dramatic winning try at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to deny Huddersfield Giants their first Challenge Cup title in 69 years. 

French had the footwork of a River Dancer and was as elusive as a ghost, which was a sign of things to come as he taunted the Salford defence but Rowley’s side gave a decent account of themselves in the opening period. 

However, Salford used all four interchanges within the first 20 minutes which just suggests how difficult the players on the pitch were finding it and how desperate Rowley was to shake some life into his side. 

Liam Farrell went on a lung-busting run as he came within ten metres of extending Wigan’s lead but the changes allowed Salford to fight their way back into the game. They dug themselves in for a tight contest and made it to halftime relatively unscathed. 

However, all the positivity the home fans held inside the AJ Bell evaporated before their halftime Bovrils had cooled down. Just four minutes into the second half, Wigan had their second try as the match winner in Tottenham, Marshall produced the goods again with an outstanding finish. 

Jake Bibby, the ex-Salford man laid on a beautiful kick to set the winger through and remarkably Marshall stayed onside and picked up the ball as it bounced over the touchline, before getting it down in style. The Challenge Cup winner is in blistering form and has now scored in four successive games, crucially taking the wind out of Salford sails.

If the second try was good, then the third was even better. French picked the ball up on his own tryline, span away from two challenges and charged upfield. He played a smart one-two with Jai Field as the speed of the attack completely killed the Salford backline. 

In the ten minutes after half-time as they always seem to do, Wigan focussed all their energy into this period of the game, with incredible results. When they are at their peak, they are almost untouchable and as they rocked into top gear after the break, they took the game away from their hosts. 

French added his second try in six minutes with a diving finish in the corner after Salford cheaply gave up possession which meant Wigan had scored five tries in the space of 20 minutes. It was a brutal display of dominance as Field, Marshall and Bevan showed just how magic they can be. 

A late Cross effort got the home side on the scoresheet before a late flourish saw Kallum Watkins bag his 150th try of his career to make the scoreline slightly more respectable, but Wigan are winners on the night, and the dominance of this display will strike fear into the rest of the Super League. 

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