Wigan Warriors put a depleted Hull KR to the sword on Thursday evening, as the Cherry and Whites beat the Robins 46-4 at the DW Stadium.
Danny McGuire made five changes to the side that defeated Warrington last week with Rowan Milnes, Zach Fishwick, Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e, and debutants Charlie Cavanaugh and Connor Moore replacing the unavailable Korbin Sims, Mikey Lewis, Ryan Hall, Greg Richards and Jimmy Keinhorst.
Rovers were always going to be up against it given they had 14 first teamers out and that was evident inside three minutes when Bevan French opened the scoring after Cade Cust found a big gap in the Rovers right-hand defence. A sloppy error from Ben Crooks shortly after led to a well-worked move from the scrum that saw Liam Marshall dive over in the corner to make it 10-0.
It wasn’t long before Mike Cooper opened his account for the Warriors on his home debut as the forward was the first to a Liam Marshall kick. Rovers were, as expected, done and dusted before the first quarter and it was simply a case of how many. Although the game was slipping away from the Robins, Lachlan Coote will be disappointed in how Wigan scored their fourth as the fullback misjudged a Jai Field kick to allow French his second, the host 20-0 up after 20 minutes.
Things went from bad to worse as the Hull KR injury curse stuck again as Will Dagger suffered an ankle injury after a half break, as Rovers lost another man before the interval once again.
Against the run of play, Rovers were next on the score sheet, as Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e put the visitors on the front foot before Rowan Milnes’ well-timed kick found Ethan Ryan, who finished off a spectacular Hull KR move.
To say Rovers are doing it tough would be an understatement as they suffered another injury just before the hooter, as starman Coote was forced off with a head knock, meaning the Robins had 18 first-teamers on the sidelines as Wigan led 20-4 at the break. Coote failed his HIA and will miss next week’s game against Toulouse Olympique.
The Warriors started on the front foot in the second half as Kai Pearce-Paul was gifted a walk-in after some dancing feet from French found an overlap on the KR edge, taking the game away from the Robins further.
Jez Litten thought he was over shortly after, but referee Tom Grant adjudged an obstruction in the lead-up to the try, which was a hammer blow to the Robins as Marshall grabbed his second moments later as a poor read in defence allowed the winger to coast in.
French got his hattrick on the 65-minute mark as he pinned his ears back to race past three would-be KR defenders, Connor Moore leaving the field with a shoulder issue in the process.
Robust forward Patrick Mago added insult to injury when he bundled over some tired Rovers defence close to the line as Wigan hit the 40-point mark before Liam Marshall was next to pick up his hattrick as a Smith kick bounced kindly for the winger.
It was another tough night on the road for the depleted Robins, who were desperate to get through the game unscathed, but picked up another four when Charlie Cavanaugh left the field close to the end. There was plenty of heart shown, but it was pretty much an impossible task for Rovers from the start as they ended the match with 12 men.
Good Day – Wigan
It was an easy day for the Warriors who didn’t get out of second gear.
Bad Day – Danny McGuire
The Rovers coach lost another two key men in Dagger and Coote as he faces more selection issues ahead of the Toulouse Olympique clash next week.
Wigan Warriors team
Jai Field, Bevan French, Sam Halsall, Kai Pearce-Paul, Liam Marshall, Cade Cust, Harry Smith, Mike Cooper, Sam Powell, Liam Bryne, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies
Bench: Patrick Mago, Kaide Ellis, Oliver Partington, Brad O’Neill
Tries: French (3), Marshall (3), Cooper, Pearce-Paul, Mago
Conversions: Smith 5/9
Hull KR team
Lachlan Coote, Ethan Ryan, Sam Wood, Ben Crooks, Will Tate, Will Dagger, Rowan Milnes, Zach Fishwick, Matt Parcell, George King, Sam Royle, Elliot Minchella, Jez Litten
Bench: Will Maher, Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e, Charlie Cavanaugh, Connor Moore
Conversions: Coote 0/1