While the Wigan Warriors are living up to, and possibly exceeding, pre-season expectations the reverse is true of the Warrington Wolves who are currently in the bottom half of the table and looking for their sixth win of the season to try and lift themselves into the top six.
George Williams returned to the Wolves side against his former employer, but the home side were still without talisman Stefan Ratchford while Wigan were still missing Sam Powell, Thomas Leuluai and Kai Pearce-Paul.
The bookies were struggling to split the sides and gave the Wolves a two-point start on the handicap coupon but to take the points the Warriors would have to win at a ground from where they´ve returned home pointless from their last five visits.
With a few seconds over two minutes on the clock Ian Thornley hit the Cade Cust pass at speed to throw a dummy and step inside to cross for the game´s opening points. Harry Smith added the conversion from wide for a terrific start for the visitors.
On six minutes the Wolves were level with a great dart from Riley Dean with a show and go from ten metres out to score next to the sticks. Dean added the conversion himself to level the scores.
Great fast hands from Wigan saw them in for their, and Thornley´s, second of the game on thirteen as he took the pass five from the line and ran over the top of his tackler to get the ball on the ground. Smith added the conversion for a 12-6 lead, it was a frantic, breathless, end-to-end opening to the game.
Wigans´s third came on twenty-three with Jai Field the provider for Bevan French to go over in the right corner before coming closer to the posts to give Harry Smith an easier conversion to double the lead.
Warrington weren´t ready to throw in the towel and on twenty-seven minutes some crisp passing saw the ball into the hands of Matty Ashton to fly over in the corner for a stylish one-handed try- Dean was unable to add the extras.
A jinking run from Liam Farrell extended the Warriors lead after he took a Patrick Mago pass to go through the Warrington defence and score by the right upright. Smith was again accurate with the boot to give his side a 24-10 lead at the break.
As the sides returned for the second half the visitors were missing superstar Jai Field who had been taken ill during the match.
On forty-four a tricky little grubber kick from French was mis-fielded by Josh Thewlis and picked up by Liam Marshall to dot down for the sixth Wigan try of the afternoon. Smith was unable to convert from the touchline, the Warriors 28-10 ahead.
Within two minutes Marshall got his second, this one off a miss-out pass from Harry Smith, as he summersaulted over the line to score one-handed. Smith kicked from the same position as his earlier miss, but this time found the target.
Daryl Clark was sin-binned on fifty-three for slowing down the ruck, much to the chagrin of referee Hicks.
Ethan Havard added his name to the Wigan score sheet on the hour mark after French had returned a Warrington kick from his own goal area to the halfway line. The Wigan man walked through a broken Wolves defence for a simple try and when Smith added the conversion it was 40-10 as the Warrington crowd voiced their disapproval.
Some consolation for the Wolves with eleven minutes remaining as Danny Walker finally managed to free himself from the marker as he scooted from dummy half to score under the sticks. Peter Mata´utia added the conversion for 16-40.
Mata´utia grabbed another for Warrington with a show and go after a George Williams high kick couldn´t be taken by the Wigan defence and was tapped back. Thewlis added the conversion for 22-40 for some respectability.
Wigan took their foot off the gas towards the end of the game after being totally dominant up until the seventieth minute. With the game won it was understandable that there was some self-preservation ahead of next weeks Challenge Cup semi-final against Saints but easing off will have upset their coach, Matt Peet. It´s another crushing loss for Warrington coach Daryl Powell who will be feeling increased heat from his directors and supporters as Warrington´s terrible season continues.
Warrington Wolves: Thewlis (T), Charnley, Mata´utia (T, G), King, Ashton (T), Dean (T, G), Williams, Mulhern, Clark D (SB on 53), Cooper, Currie, Holmes, Magoulis. Subs: Philbin, Bullock, Clark J, Walker (T).
Wigan Warriors: Field, French (T), Thornley (2T), Bibby, Marshall (2T), Cust, Smith (5G), Singleton. O´Neill, Ellis, Farrell (T), Bateman, Smithies. Subs: Mago, Havard, Byrne, Halsall.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6, 6-10, 6-12, 6-16, 6-18, 10-18, 10-22, 10-24 : HT : 10-28, 10-32, 10-34, 10-38, 10-40, 14-40, 16-40, 20-40, 22-40 : FT.
Referee: Rob Hicks.