Super League: Wigan coach Shaun Wane praises Iain Thornley after hat-trick
Last Updated: 15/03/14 8:11am
Man of the match Ian Thornley celebrated a hat-trick
Wigan coach Shaun Wane hailed Iain Thornley's best performance for the club after his first-ever hat-trick helped them to a 34-20 victory over Hull KR.
The 22-year-old centre scored the game's first try after only four minutes and completed his hat-trick four minutes from the end to clinch the Super League champions' second win of the season and leave Hull KR still waiting for their first.
"I thought it was the best game he's had," Wane said. "He carried the ball strong and defended well.
"He's got a lot of potential and I think we've seen it. He needs to string 10 or 12 games together like that."
Full-back Matty Bowen provided the highlight with a length-of-the-field solo try that put Wigan into an 8-0 lead after eight minutes but Rovers struck back, taking advantage of some woeful defending to lead 16-8 with tries from forward Jamie Langley and centres Liam Salter and Kris Welham.
Thornley scored his second to get Wigan back in it but winger Ben Cockayne's 35th-minute try put the visitors into a 20-14 half-time lead and they would have been further ahead had Graeme Horne's effort early in the second half not been disallowed for a forward pass.
The Warriors made the most of the let-off and secured victory with second-half tries from Liam Farrell, Ben Flower and Thornley, with Matty Smith eventually finding his goalkicking range to add 10 points.
"I am proud of the players, they've done well," Wane said.
"I thought we defended dumb in the first half. There were a few technical things we needed to fix up and we did.
"To nil a quality team was quite impressive. I'm happy with that win."
Wane will be hoping for some improvement when his side take on Warrington in next Thursday's Grand-Final re-match but they will again be without skipper Sean O'Loughlin, who remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.
"He had a scan in the week and he needs a bit of a rest," Wane said. "It's nothing serious, just a couple of weeks."
Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock was encouraged by his side's first-half display.
"We had a couple of real good opportunities in the second half and didn't take them," he said.
"Wigan, to their credit, took every one of theirs and that was the difference between the two sides.
"There were a lot of positives. We competed a lot harder and scored some classy tries."