Sam Tomkins underlined his status as Super League’s poster boy by launching the new season with a hat-trick in an emphatic Wigan win.
The Warriors’ star full-back ran in three of his side’s eight tries to puncture a party atmosphere at the Salford City Stadium sparked by the Reds’ recent takeover.
Yet after coming perilously close to folding in the close season, Salford will take heart from a spirited display, even if they looked some way short of the required standard.
Five-goal Pat Richards, Matty Smith, Josh Charnley, Iain Thornley and Liam Farrell also touched down as Wigan went on the rampage.
The change of mood at Salford after their winter of turmoil was evident before kick-off as new owner Dr Marwan Koukash was introduced to the crowd. However, coach Phil Veivers said afterwards: “We didn’t help ourselves throughout the game. But I have always said we are probably three months behind every other club because we haven’t had a pre-season.”
Salford: Murphy; Broughton, R Williams, Gibson, D Williams; McGoldrick, Fages; McPherson, Godwin, Jewitt, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild. Replacements used: Gledhill, James, Owen, Nero.
Wigan: S Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Thornley, Richards; Green, Smith; Prescott, McIlorum, Mossop, Hughes, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Replacements used: Flower, Dudson, Taylor, Powell. Referee: J Child (Dewsbury)