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Wigan too good for Salford
Great Britain hooker Terry Newton produced a virtuoso performance as Wigan?s patched-up side answered some of the critics with a convincing 40-12 victory over Salford at the JJB Stadium.
Newton grabbed two tries and had a hand in several others as Wigan kept alive their slim chance of making the end of season engage Super League play-offs.
The Warriors? third victory over the Reds this season saw Brian Carney and Danny Tickle help themselves to two tries apiece.
But it was the inspiration and guile of their number nine that the Warriors had to thank for laying the platform for the victory.
The Warriors were again missing several key players - Kris Radlinski, Jerome Guisset and Wayne Godwin adding their names to the lengthy casualty list since the narrow loss to Wakefield a fortnight ago.
But Wigan showed tremendous spirit to lift themselves from the early setback of going behind to open up a commanding and thoroughly deserved interval advantage - and the second half was pretty much more of the same.
The Reds had taken the lead after only seven minutes, when Newton attempted an ill-advised pass out of the tackle on his own 30 metre-line, only for it to fly into the hands of Stuart Littler, who had a walk-in to the line.
Chris Charles added an easy goal for a 6-0 lead, although the lead only lasted four minutes as Wigan made good work of their next set of six with Newton determined to make amends for his error.
The experienced campaigner drew the reds line before offloading to Danny Orr, whose off-balance left-footed kick found the grateful arms of Tickle a couple of yards out, with the second row converting his own score to level matters.
Irish winger Carney was showing up well in the early stages for the Warriors after his recent promise to continue to give his best for the club despite his impending switch to the NRL, and his spirited chase of a Dennis Moran kick almost forced a drop out at the expense of Junior Langi.
Carney it was who gave Wigan the lead halfway through the opening period, though, finishing off in the right-hand corner after an impressive half-break from youngster Kevin Brown.
The Warriors were on fire as Danny Sculthorpe added extra go-forward from the bench, and they extended their lead on 27 minutes when Moran chipped over the line and collected his own kick to put Newton scampering away by the side of the posts, Tickle?s goal moving his side 10 points clear.
The home side were checked on the half-hour, however, as Harrison Hansen limped from the field with what looked like a problem with his left knee, Joel Tomkins replacing him in the back row, while Tickle was led off with a head injury, to be replaced by Bryn Hargreaves for his second stint on the field.
Wigan extended their lead to 18-6 just before half-time via an Orr penalty after Littler was penalised for leading with his elbow in the tackle bang in front of his own posts.
And Newton grabbed his second try right on the hooter after following up kicks by Moran and Dallas, Orr again making no mistake with the boot to leave Salford in big trouble with an 18-point deficit.
The Reds reduced the arrears soon after the restart. A period of sustained pressure, helped by a couple of penalties awarded by referee Steve Ganson in the Wigan 20m-area, ended with
Andrew Brockelhurst forcing his way over, with Charles? conversion closing the gap to 12 points.
Former Wigan winger David Hodgson could have closed the gap further but he could not take a slip pass from Littler on halfway - with open space in front of him.
The Warriors made him pay as, within seconds, Tickle?s bullet pass found Carney, who had just enough space to take Langi over the line with him for his second try of the night and make it 28-12.
And Newton killed off the game on the hour as his super short ball put Tomkins over, with Tickle?s goal extending the lead to 22 points.
Newton produced the offload of the season to send Tickle over in the closing stages, Tickle?s fourth goal bringing up the 40-point mark to the delight of the majority of the 10,156 crowd, while Newton took a deserved breather to the applause of the home faithful.
Wigan (24) 40. Tries: Tickle 2, Carney 2, Newton 2, Tomkins. Goals: Tickle 4, Aspinwall, Orr.
Salford (6) 12. Tries: Littler, Brocklehurst. Goals: Charles 2.
Wigan: Dallas, Carney, Brown, Vaealiki, Aspinwall, Orr, Moran, Seu Seu, Newton, Hargreaves, Wild, Tickle, Hansen.
Replacements: Gleeson, Tomkins, Allen, Sculthorpe.
Salford: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Littler, Sibbit, Langi, Beverley, Robinson, Rutgerson, Alker, Stringer, Shipway, McAvoy, Charles.
Replacements: Brocklehurst, Baldwin, Hartley, Highton.
Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens)
Thanks to www.superleague for the above review