Wigan Warriors 32-10 Toronto Wolfpack: Bevan French and Liam Farrell keep Wolfpack at bay
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 14/02/20 9:02am
Bevan French and Liam Farrell doubled up to help Wigan Warriors overcome a spirited Toronto Wolfpack 32-10 in Thursday's Super League game.
For the third time in as many games since winning promotion, Toronto took the lead when Matty Russell finished in the left corner following a spell of pressure.
But Harry Smith's first try of the season for the Warriors and full-back French's score, converted by Zak Hardaker, saw the hosts rally to lead 10-4 at half-time.
A converted score from Bodene Thompson got the Wolfpack back on level terms after the restart, but French's second, plus Farrell's double and a scintillating finish by Joe Burgess, sealed victory for the Warriors.
Toronto were not helped either by Jon Wilkin having to pull out just before kick-off at the DW Stadium, and then James Cunningham and Gadwin Springer suffering game-ending injuries during the match.
Already without Sonny Bill Williams after the former All Black flew back to New Zealand for the birth of his fourth child, Toronto coach Brian McDermott was forced draft Gary Wheeler, Toronto's 18th man, onto the bench before Cunningham strained his hamstring and Springer failed a head injury assessment.
To make matters worse, the luckless Canadian club finished the game with 12 men after centre Hakim Miloudi was sin-binned for a high tackle which curtailed Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin's involvement in his 400th Super League game.
The visitors were forced to soak up early pressure on their line before taking advantage of a couple of penalties to build some momentum of their own.
It paid off midway through the first half when the ball came back off Josh McCrone's high kick to the corner for former Warriors winger Russell to touch down.
Blake Wallace, playing at stand-off in the absence of the injured Joe Mellor, was wide with the conversion attempt and Wigan drew level six minutes later when second-rower Willie Isa offloaded from the tackle near the Toronto line to get young half-back Smith over for a try.
A sublime inside ball from the ever-dangerous Farrell then got French over for a second try which put the Warriors in front and Hardaker added the goal.
Leading 10-4 at the break, Wigan looked set to go further ahead when stand-off Jackson Hastings broke the first line of defence and found Farrell only for referee Chris Kendall to rule a forward pass and the Wolfpack made the most of the let-off.
Prop Adam Sidlow barged his way over the Wigan line without being able to ground the ball and second-row Thompson got on the end of a pass from recalled full-back Gareth O'Brien to score his side's second try.
Wallace's successful conversion tied the scores at 10-10 but Wigan winger Burgess came up with a thrilling 80-metre try on the counter-attack after French took a quick 20-metre restart and Hastings combined to free him up.
Hardaker kicked his second goal and French took Hastings' pass to dummy his way over for his second try to tilt the game firmly Wigan's way.
The Wolfpack players were tiring rapidly by then and they were unable to prevent Wigan ramming home their advantage after Miloudi was shown a yellow card after 74 minutes, with Farrell touching down twice in three minutes and Hardaker taking his goal tally to four.