Charnley hat-trick helps Wigan move to top spot
Josh Charnley scored a hat-trick as Wigan Warriors moved to the top of the Stobart Super League with victory over Hull KR.by NRL
Josh Charnley scored a hat-trick as Wigan Warriors moved to the top of the Stobart Super League with victory over Hull KR.
Charnley crossed twice in a decisive initial burst that saw the Warriors race into a 26-0 lead just before the half-hour.
During that spell referee Phil Bentham left the field, following a collision with full-back Shannon McDonnell, on a stretcher with a suspected broken leg.
After a lengthy delay Wigan set about sealing the result, with Charnley completing his hat-trick shortly after half-time.
And although the Robins put up a better fight after the break with scores from McDonnell, Josh Hodgson and Kris Welham the Warriors never looked in any real danger of losing the game.
Wigan opened the scoring after just five minutes with Charnley crossing for his first try of the night, Sam Tomkins spied a gap and sent Charnley over in the corner. The winger was off target with his conversion attempt.
Wigan looked in the mood to post a raft of points and Michael McIlorum almost touched down Brett Finch's cute grubber kick towards the posts.
Moments later, Rovers winger Dave Hodgson saved a certain try as George Carmont looked to get to Anthony Gelling's kick through after Finch had initiated the attack with his own chip kick.
It did not take long for Wigan to cross for their second try thanks to some more magic from Tomkins. When the full-back received the ball there did not look much on but he danced across the field sideways before hitting a gap and waltzing in under the posts without a hand being laid on him. Charnley converted for a 10-0 lead.
Wigan's third try quickly followed after 17 minutes but it took an age to be awarded as referee Bentham went down in a heap in the build-up following a collision with McDonnell and did not witness Lee Mossop go in under the posts.
Bentham was then stretchered from the field after a lengthy stoppage with his place being taken by Robert Hicks. Video referee Ian Smith eventually gave Mossop the nod with Charnley converting for a 16-0 lead.
The Warriors were in no mood to let up and they recorded their fourth try of the half with Gelling stretching over and Charnley soon had his second, before converting to make it 26-0 after 26 minutes.
The visitors did get on the scoresheet five minutes before the break when Blake Green and Michael Dobson combined to send skipper Ben Galea racing through to score, Dobson converted as they trailed 26-6.
The second half started the same way as the first with the Warriors crossing over the whitewash in a move that again went the full width of the field with Charnley grabbing his hat-trick.
Hull KR refused to lie down and, after receiving back-to-back penalties, they went almighty close as Josh Hodgson was held inches short as he collected Green's neat chip over.
Another penalty for the visitors put them in good field position and this time they made it count as video referee Smith adjudged that McDonnell had grounded the ball cleanly despite protests for a double movement.
That conceded try seemed to spur Wigan on and after Leuluai went agonisingly close the Warriors crossed for their seventh try as Finch floated a superb ball out wide and Gelling used all his strength to get the ball down for his second of the night. Charnley converted as Wigan led 36-10.
Gelling thought he had grabbed his first hat-trick for the club with 14 minutes remaining but he put his arm in touch as he attempted to ground the ball in the corner.
Hull KR managed to reduce the deficit even further inside the last 10 minutes with Josh Hodgson collecting a neat offload from Scott Taylor to score at the side of the posts, with Dobson converting.
The Robins were playing with far more urgency but despite Welham crossing over following a Tomkins error it was too little too late. Dobson's conversion made the score quite flattering to Hull KR at 36-22.
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