Wigan begin with a bang

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The Independent Online
Workington Town 6 Wigan 48

There was a time when Wigan, invariably dominant over the season as a whole, had a tradition of starting slowly, writes Dave Hadfield.

Now they do not even confer that small mercy on the rest of the league. The contemptuous way they treated Workington in the opening game of their Stones Centenary Championship campaign last night was a resounding statement of that fact.

Shaun Edwards is a veteran of a time when Wigan would routinely squander a few early points, but he is a rare example of a player growing hungrier as he grows older and that seems to rub off on the side.

Within the first half-hour at Derwent Park last night, Edwards had had a hand in all five of Wigan's tries, notably with two perfectly measured short passes to feed the impressive young second rower, Simon Haughton, striding through with confidence, and the contest was over.

Martin Offiah, looking powerful enough to play in the second row himself this season, scored off a similar Edwards pass and Wigan's willingness to keep the ball alive also produced tries for Kris Radlinski and Mick Cassidy.

Workington were never good enough to make Wigan regret their occasional bouts of over-elaboration. They were too profligate in conceding both possession and penalties, although one of their flashes of attacking enthusiasm saw Paul Burns score before half-time.

The punishment resumed for them soon after the break, however, with Henry Paul capitalising on an Andy Farrell break, Scott Quinnell towering on to yet another pass from Edwards and Jason Robinson doing what he had threatened all night by jinking through.

The elusive Robinson also scored the final try with Farrell kicking his sixth goal. The days when Wigan considered it polite to give the others a start are long gone.

Workington Town: Livett; Penrice, Burns (Pape, 58), Fraisse, M Johnson; Kitchin, Marwood; Schubert (Riley, 31; Schubert, 70), McKenzie (Gorley, 47), Phillips, Armstrong, McGinty, Holgate.

Wigan: Radlinski; Robinson, Tuigamala, Connolly (Smythe, 70), Offiah; Paul, Edwards; Skerrett (Quinnell, 31), Hall (Dermott, 55), O'Connor, Haughton, Cassidy (A Johnson, 58), Farrell.

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).

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