Far from sulking from the Challenge Cup final loss last weekend, Salford Red Devils could hold their heads high at a terrific performance as they returned to Super League action to take on the Wigan Warriors.
A win for Wigan would keep the pressure on Saints who were to be involved in the later match against the Leeds Rhinos. A win for the Red Devils would see them up to eighth, regaining the place they lost last night to the Tigers.
Salford were without Kevin Brown and a very late withdrawal Niall Evalds who was replaced by Olly Ashall-Bott at full-back.
Just ninety seconds had elapsed when Sam Powell fell over the line after scooting from acting half back for a typical hooker’s try. Zak Hardaker added the conversion for a quick 6-0 lead, the Red Devils knew that they needed to dig deep early on.
Salford steadied the ship and kept Wigan at bay until the fourteenth minute when Powell scored a carbon copy try as he pushed his way over the line and grounded the ball with his forearm. Hardaker added the conversion for a 12-0 lead.
On sixteen the Warriors were in again as Liam Farrell completed a fifty-metre rolling move down the left wing to take the inside pass from Joe Burgess to round behind the sticks. Hardaker made it three from three for 18-0, Wigan were easing out of sight, Salford looked overwhelmed.
Bevan French got in on the action on twenty-five after Jake Bibby carved his way through the Salford defence before finding his full-back to complete the move and dive under the sticks. Hardaker added the conversion for 24-0, the Warriors now scoring at almost a point a minute.
On the half-hour the Red Devils finally got on the scoreboard when Kallum Watkins went outside Oliver Gildart after taking a Joey Lussick pass and fending off the Wigan centre to stoop to score one-handed. Krisnan Inu added the touchline conversion to reduce the arrears by six.
French added a sensational second try on thirty-five after taking a Salford kick thirty from his own line. He stepped through the kick chasers before turning the last two tacklers inside out and going over to score under the posts. Hardaker added the conversion for 30-6, normal service had been resumed.
Salford scored a top drawer try at the start of the second half when Chris Atkin broke the line and offloaded to Andy Ackers who then found Tui Lolohea to go over and touch down. Inu added the conversion, again from wide.
A mistake from Pauli Pauli gifted Wigan their sixth try as Jackson Hastings took an inside pass from Oliver Gildart to again head for the posts and give Hardaker a simple sixth goal of the night.
On fifty minutes Gildart got in on the action going down the left wing off a French pass and grounding in the corner before being pushed into touch. Hardaker faced his most difficult kick of the night and he pushed it wide of the far upright to blemish his record.
Farrell got his second on fifty-five as Salford made another error under the kick. Farrell took a Powell short pass at pace to crash over the line and when Hardaker added the goal it was 46-12, the Warriors best performance of 2020.
French completed his hat-trick with another electric try to bring up the fifty. He stepped twice off a Hastings pass before splitting the Salford defence to score under the sticks. Hardaker kicked the conversion for 52-12.
Oliver Gildart got his second on seventy-seven picking up a Hasting grubber kick in the in-goal area for a simple try. Hardaker added the conversion for a final score of 58-12.
This was as dominant a performance as you are likely to see as the Wigan Warriors demolished the Red Devils and ran in ten tries for a landslide win. Salford will blame a Wembley hangover but the Wigan side were red hot, on top form across the park, but special mention to Bevan French who scored three sensational tries. Salford will take this loss badly, but Wigan will march into next weeks derby with St Helens full of confidence.
Wigan Warriors: French (3T), Burgess, Gildart (2T), Hardaker (8G), Bibby, Hastings (T), Leuluai, Singleton, Powell (2T), Bullock, Farrell (2T), Isa, Partington. Subs: Flower, Greenwood, Clubb, Smithies.
Salford Red Devils: Ashall-Bott, Williams, Watkins (T), Kear, Inu (2G), Lolohea (T), Atkin, Mossop, Lussick, Yates, Roberts, Greenwood, McCarthy. Subs: Ackers, Pauli, Dudson, Burke.
Referee: Chris Kendall.
Half Time: 30-6.
Full Time: 58-12.
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens.