Wigan 20 Leigh 0
Match report from the Battle of the Borough as Wigan beat Leigh 20-0
Anthony Gelling scores twice with Man of the Match George Williams scoring the other
- Ryan Sutton (eye), Joe Burgess (knee) and Lewis Tierney (knee) all leave the action through injury
Wigan ran out winners in an engrossing first Battle of the Borough of 2017.
Fans had waited 12 years for a league showdown between the pair and although conditions didn’t allow for the greatest of shows passion and excitement came by the bucket load.
In a tight first half Wigan led 6-0 at the break after Anthony Gelling’s early try and Morgan Escaré’s goal.
The Warriors lost Joe Burgess (knee) on the 30 minute mark and Lewis Tierney (knee) at half-time with Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Ryan Sutton both spending time off the field for concussion assessments, Sutton unable to return owing to an eye injury.
Down on numbers Wigan showed true grit to muscle up as tries from George Williams and a second from Gelling along with three further goals from Escaré gave them a 20-0 win.
With Oliver Gildart missing out due to a shoulder injury Joe Burgess moved inside to left centre with Liam Marshall debuting on the wing.
Leigh handed debuts to Curtis Naughton and Lachlan Burr and named six former Wigan players in their team.
Wigan opened the scoring in the seventh minute when George Williams’ bouncing kick caused disarray in the Leigh defence and Anthony Gellling pounced to run in under the posts. Escaré converted, Wigan 6-0 to the good.
Leigh grew into the game and had several half-chances but poor handling and strong Wigan defence kept them at bay.
The rain poured throughout the first half making handling difficult for both sides with errors creeping in at both ends of the field.
30 minutes into the action Joe Burgess went down with an ankle injury meaning Willie Isa stepped in at centre for the remainder of the game.
Neither side really stamped their authority on the game but Wigan drew a penalty in the 37th minute for lying on however Morgan Escaré’s 40-metre effort drifted to the left of the uprights.
The Warriors tried a further two times to extend their lead but O’Louglin’s drop-goal missed the target and Escaré’s hopeful effort was well wide meaning the Warriors led 6-0 at the break.
HALF TIME: Wigan Warriors 6–0 Leigh Centurions
Lewis Tierney failed to return for the second with the Wigan youngster taking a knock to the knee meaning Wigan had just 15 fit players for the second 40.
The numerical disadvantage didn’t hinder them early on as they started the second half with a bang with George Williams jinking inside the Leigh defence from close range to extend Wigan’s lead with Escaré making it 12-0 with 48 minutes played.
Midway through the half Ryan Sutton left the action for a concussion assessment meaning Wigan were down to just one sub and the young prop was unable to return owing to an eye injury.
Gareth Hock, making his first appearance against Wigan at the DW, stuck a high shot on Frank-Paul Nuuausala on the 65th minute and Escaré added the penalty goal from 30-metres to give Wigan a three-score lead.
Wigan didn’t have long to wait for more points as from the next set Williams made a break and his lofted kick bounced a few times before Gelling pounced to score his second. Escaré from the touchline – Wigan 20-0 Leigh.
Leigh tried to muster points late on but the Wigan defence slammed the door firmly shut in their face to nil them.
FULL TIME: Wigan Warriors 20–0 Leigh Centurions
Wigan Warriors - 20
Tries: Anthony Gelling 2, George Williams
Goals: Morgan Escaré 4/5
Leigh Centurions - 0
Wigan Warriors: 22. Morgan Escaré, 21. Lewis Tierney, 3. Anthony Gelling, 5. Joe Burgess, 35. Liam Marshall, 6. George Williams, 7. Thomas Leuluai, 8. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 16. Sam Powell, 10. Ben Flower, 20. Willie Isa, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin
Interchange: 11. Joel Tomkins, 15. Tony Clubb, 17. Taulima Tautai, 19. Ryan Sutton
Leigh Centurions: 1. Mitch Brown; 5. Matthew Dawson, 3. Ben Crooks, 4. Willie Tonga, 30. Curtis Naughton; 20. Ben Reynolds, 7. Josh Drinkwater; 8. Gareth Hock, 9. Micky Higham, 22. James Green, 15. Danny Tickle, 17. Atelea Vea, 13. Harrison Hansen
Interchange: 14. Eloi Pelissier, 23. Sam Hopkins, 24. Jamie Acton, 29. Lachlan Burr
Referee - Robert Hicks