Super League: Wigan Warriors thrash Salford Red Devils
Last Updated: 01/08/14 8:15am
Anthony Gelling scored his first Super League hat-trick as Wigan cruised to a 45-4 victory over Salford at the DW Stadium.
The Warriors were in total control on a night which saw dual-code England international Joel Tomkins make his return to rugby league as a second-half substitute.
Matt Bowen, Josh Charnley, George Williams, Tony Clubb and Matty Smith also crossed the try-line for the Warriors, who bounced back from their shock defeat to relegated Bradford in some style.
It was full-back Bowen who broke the deadlock on 12 minutes, managing to ground Smith's grubber kick with his fingers just before it crossed the dead-ball line.
Smith kicked the first of his six goals - he also sent over a drop goal - to make it 6-0 and almost added a second try after chasing Sam Powell's kick to the line.
The champions were then forced to defend desperately as Salford roared back, but the Red Devils could not capitalise as Junior Sa'u failed to spot the support after breaking clear and Mason Caton-Brown spilled the ball close the line.
A finely-balanced match tilted Wigan's way in the last 10 minutes of the first half as the home side ran in two quick-fire tries.
Chase's ambitious short drop-out backfired when Wigan scooped up possession 30 metres out and Smith combined with Bowen to get Gelling over for his first try.
Gelling then got England winger Josh Charnley over for his 17th try of the season and, with a 16-0 deficit at the break, there was no way back for the visitors.
Within two minutes of the restart, Gelling went on an arcing run from dummy half 15 metres out and used his strength to hold off two defenders and plant the ball over the line for his second try.
Salford introduced hooker Logan Tomkins, who is on a season-long loan from Wigan, 11 minutes into the second half and three minutes later big brother Joel followed him onto the field to the cheers of the home fans.
He arrived just in time to see Smith have a try disallowed by video referee Ben Thaler for obstruction, and then witness a brief Salford revival.
Charnley chased back 50 metres to bring down full-back Niall Evalds after he had broken away from his own line before Red Devils left winger Josh Griffin touched down Chase's kick for a 62nd-minute try when Bowen believed the ball was going dead.
Bowen made amends when he broke clear to get Gelling over for his third try on 67 minutes but the best was still to come as teenage hooker Williams went on a 50-metre run, sidestepping and weaving his way to the line for a glorious solo try.
As Salford faded badly, Clubb demonstrated exceptional pace by hacking a loose ball ahead and sprinting 40 metres to score and Smith rounded things off with a richly-deserved try three minutes from the end.