Sydney Roosters 36 Wigan Warriors 14 match report: Australian centre Michael Jennings blows away Warriors Down Under as hat-trick secures World Club Challenge trophy
An error-strewn display from the Super League champions saw them three scores behind within 22 minutes from which they never recover
Saturday 22 February 2014
Australia Test centre Michael Jennings became the first player to score a hat-trick of tries in the World Club Challenge as Sydney Roosters dismantled Wigan in ruthless fashion.
The NRL champions were hugely impressive against an error-strewn Warriors side, running in six tries to three to triumph 36-14 in front of a 31,515 crowd at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The Super League champions, who were hoping to repeat their famous win over Brisbane Broncos in 1994, never recovered from the shock of conceding three tries in the first 22 minutes, although England winger Josh Charnley spared their embarrassment with two tries on his 100th appearance.
Teenager Joe Burgess was also on the scoresheet for Wigan but they were no match for a Roosters side that look well set to repeat their 2013 Premiership success.
Wigan flew down under a fortnight ago in a bid to prepare for Saturday's match and they were boosted by the presence of skipper Sean O'Loughlin, who returned from injury to lead them to victory in both the Challenge Cup and Grand Final last year.
But they were slow to get out of the blocks and the Roosters were dominant from the kick-off.
Jennings handed off Charnley to open the scoring after only two minutes and former Hull prop Sam Moa took a short pass from hooker Jake Friend to crash over 10 minutes later.
Little went right for the Warriors in the opening quarter, with O'Loughlin pulled up for a knock-on when it appeared to be a ball steal and that set up the position for the Roosters' next score.
The out-of-touch Matty Bowen failed to deal with Friend's grubber kick and Jennings followed up to register his second try, with James Maloney kicking the first of his six goals to make it 18-0.
It could have been worse for Wigan, with full-back Anthony Minichiello narrowly failing to take Mitchell Pearce's high kick after outjumping the unfortunate Bowen and Jennings twice going close to completing his hat-trick before half-time.
Wigan, who lost forward Eddy Pettybourne with a shoulder injury after earlier being put on report for an ugly high tackle on Shaun Kenny-Dowall, got a tongue-lashing from coach Shaun Wane at the interval and for a time it looked to have paid off.
They successfully overturned a 16-2 deficit against Warrington in the Grand Final and threatened another comeback when half-backs Blake Green and Matty Smith created an overlap for Burgess to score his 12th try in five matches in 2014.
But Smith was unable to convert and then came up with a couple of errors that enabled the Roosters to regain the ascendancy.
His kick went straight into touch to put his side under pressure and he then came up with a stray pass which was seized on by Jennings for his hat-trick.
Maloney's fourth goal made it 24-4 and left the Super League champions staring at humiliation.
However, they were stung into producing their best spell of the match and were rewarded with two tries in nine minutes from Charnley.
He pounced on an error by Minichiello, who failed to deal with Smith's high kick, for his first and then took Darrell Goulding's pass to make full use of an overlap to double his tally on his landmark appearance.
Smith kicked his first conversion as Wigan cut the deficit to 10 points but when prop Gil Dudson fumbled the ball on his own 20-metre area, the Roosters took advantage to wrap up the game.
New Zealand Test prop Jared Warea-Hargreaves plunged over from close range on 66 minutes and four minutes later Kenny-Dowall produced a flying finish at the corner for the Roosters' sixth try.
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