Wigan Warriors were victorious in Sam Powell’s testimonial this afternoon, beating Salford Red Devils 32-4 at the DW Stadium.
After retaining the Peter Smethurst trophy last weekend, today presented a great opportunity for some first-team stars to build valuable match fitness ahead of the Betfred Super League.
There was a Red Devils debut for Sam Stone, with Club captain, Kallum Watkins returning from shoulder surgery to play in the centre. In the absence of Ken Sio and Joe Burgess, Deon Cross joined Rhys Williams as our wing pairing.
Paul Rowley’s pre-season injury woes continued within six minutes. After a heavy challenge, Jack Ormondroyd went down clutching his shoulder – clearly in a lot of pain – and played no further part.
Wigan sprang their first attack moments later. Jai Field broke down the right and combined with Bevan French to hand the hosts the lead. Harry Smith kicking the first of four conversions.
Williams was finding some joy down the left, and the wingers acrobatic effort in the 9th minute almost got the reward it deserved, but the Welsh international was just nudged out of touch.
Kai Pearce-Paul added to the Warriors lead shortly after. He received a tidy short pass from Cade Cust 10 metres out to spin away from his man and slide over.
Salford were trying to build any momentum they could and finally went over through Deon Cross. Man of Steel, Brodie Croft produced a lovely show and go from the play-the-ball and flicked a pass out to Cross on the right who had the easiest of crossings.
The Red Devils were on the front foot, but their wave of attacking play was halted when French intercepted a loose pass and sprinted 50 metres upfield to slide under the posts.
HALF-TIME: Wigan Warriors 18-4 Salford Red Devils
Rowley’s side had the first chance of the second period when Matt Costello excellently rode a challenge to tee up the supporting Sam Stone. The Aussie sent a grubber kick into the corner and Field was forced to boot it high into the stands for a goal-line drop out.
Amir Bourouh replaced Andy Ackers at hooker and sprung straight into life from his first play-the-ball. Showing brilliant deception from the ruck, he sprung past the Wigan line and played through Croft, but our number six just couldn’t shake his marker.
Wigan added to their lead just before the hour mark through Field. On the last, he chased a chipped ball from Cust to gather and slide under the posts.
They added a second in quick succession when the fresh Abbas Miski picked up a loose ball in the right corner and acrobatically touched the ball down, despite the best efforts of Oliver Partington.
King Vuniyayawa broke a few challenges with a charging run, but – as was the pattern of the game – his offload to Atkin was stopped just before the try-line.
There was still time for Miski to grab his second just before the hooter, with Smith’s short pass giving him the simple task of strolling over in the corner.
Attentions for Rowley’s men now turn to our Betfred Super League opener against Leigh Leopards in just under a fortnight.
FULL-TIME: Wigan Warriors 32-4 Salford Red Devils