Wigan the video stars

Oldham Bears 16 Wigan 56
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The Independent Online
IF THEIR first Super League outing last night is any guide, Wigan still have the power required to dominate the new competition just as they have towered over the game in the winter.

The good news for other aspirants is that they have little to beat at Boundary Park and that several other teams would have dismissed a shoddy Oldham effort with equal disdain.

Oldham are a side capable of inflicting the occasional embarrassment on Wigan. They beat them last season in the League, but they fell far short of their normal level of resistance.

The most popular theory at Oldham Athletic was that they had made a mistake by sacrificing the home advantage of their bleak and inhospitable ground in favour of the comparitive luxury of their football neighbours. In truth, the gap between the sides was so huge it would have taken a switch to Derwentwater not just to Watersheddings to produce a level playing field.

Wigan, apart from a couple of spells when they seemed to tire of the sheer ease with which they were dismantling the opposition, ripped through them at will, several of their 11 tries owing much to some dismal defence.

Oldham could claim to be the victims of early misfortune when Wigan became the first side to be awarded a try courtesy of the newly introduced video replay device. It was a decision that would have confirmed all the worse prejudices of those who believe that Wigan invariably get the best of everything.

It was certainly a try that the referee, David Campbell, could not have awarded without the benefit of a second opinion and, even after showings from various angles, it looked as though Scott Quinnell might have knocked on Shaun Edwards' kick before Martin Offiah touched down.

It was no excuse for what followed, with Oldham twice being opened up by Gary Connolly before Martin Hall showed that they were just as weak in the middle by barging over from dummy half. Henry Paul and Kris Radlinski claimed further tries before Connolly completed his hat-trick to given Wigan a 36-point half-time lead.

Knowing that they had done quite enough, Wigan lacked the same ruthless edge in the second half, to the extent of allowing Oldham to score tries through Darren Abram, Rob Myler and, with the help of the video judge, Francis Maloney.

Wigan, despite losing Offiah for 10 minutes in the sin bin, kept out of range of any genuine recovery with second tries from Offiah and Radlinski plus two from Edwards, a captain and playmaker who had been allowed to do much as he liked. The seasons may change but some things remained uncannily the same.

l In yesterday evening's other Super League match, London Broncos beat Halifax 24-22 at Thrum Hall.

Oldham: Atcheson; Leuila, Topping, Abram (Patmore, 30), Myler, Maloney (Abram, ht, Maloney, 52), Crompton, Sherratt, Clarke, Temu (Gildart, 59), Lord (Hall, 30), Faimalo, Bradbury (Munro, 21).

Wigan: Radlinski; Robinson, Tuigamala (Smythe, 52), Connolly, Offiah, Paul (Johnson,66), Edwards, Cowie (O'Connor, 50), Hall, O'Connor (Skerrett, 26, Quinnell, 77), Quinnell (Haughton, 26), Cassidy, Farrell.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).

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