Super League: Salford 12-40 Wigan: Warriors get off to winning start

Winger Liam Marshall and centre Oliver Gildart both scored twice as Wigan made a winning start to their Betfred Super League campaign with a dominant 40-12 victory against Salford at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Despite falling behind in the third minute, Shaun Wane’s Warriors went onto control the game thanks to the influence of half-backs George Williams and Sam Powell.

Wigan were especially impressive in the second half when the backline terrorised the Salford defence and added 30 points.

Ian Watson’s side made the perfect start when some slick approach play along the line resulted in a walk-in try for centre Kris Welham in the third minute. Gareth O’Brien added the conversion.

The visitors responded brightly and Salford needed were indebted to a crunching tackle by Junior Sa’u which forced Wigan winger Tom Davies into touch.

But Wigan, who have lost just two of their last 18 meetings with Salford, did find a way through in the 12th minute when Williams and Dan Sarginson spun the ball wide and Davies produced a fine finish to score in the corner. Sam Tomkins was unable to add the conversion.

Warriors prop Ryan Sutton was held up over the Salford tryline in the 16th minute but they were powerless to prevent a second Wigan try moments later.

A perfectly weighted kick from Williams sat up for Gildart and the centre touched down for a try which Tomkins converted to give Wigan a 10-6 lead.

Salford ended the first half with 12 men after prop George Griffin was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle.

Only three minutes of the second half had been played when Wigan made the most of their extra man advantage. Marshall broke dangerously and his kick ahead was collected by Morgan Escare who scored by the posts. Tomkins’ goal made it 16-6 to the Warriors.

Wigan continued to impress and extended their lead in the 57th minute. Tomkins kicked to the corner and Marshall won the race for the loose ball and touched down for a try which was converted.

Marshall completed a quickfire double when he produced some superb footwork to deftly flick the ball with the outside of his foot after Williams had initially kicked ahead. Another Tomkins goal extended Wigan’s lead to 28-6.

Gildart added his second on the back of more invention from Marshall in the 65th minute, sprinting clear to finish a superb move which started almost on the halfway line. Tomkins again kicked the goal to make it 34-6.

Prop Tony Clubb barged in from close range with 12 minutes remaining to add further gloss to a polished Wigan display and Tomkins added the conversion.

With five minutes remaining, Salford scored their second try when Niall Evalds went in at the corner and O’Brien converted from the touchline.