Wigan 20 – 0 Leigh

World Club Champions Wigan Warriors earned the spoils in the Battle of the Borough at a rain-soaked DW Stadium.

Man of the Match George Williams produced another fine display to provide the creativity and cutting edge to Warriors’ victory.

Williams’ kicking skills created two tries for Anthony Gelling and he scored an individual effort himself early in the second half with fullback Morgan Escare kicking four goals.

The Centurions, backed by nearly 3,000 travelling fans defended resolutely but created few opportunities in attack as they were nilled for the first time since losing 54-0 at Wakefield in the Challenge Cup in 2009.

But Leigh’s display was a far cry from the 62-6 hammering they received in their only previous Super League visit to the ground 12 years ago.

Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “We hung in there with our defence but we put too much pressure on ourselves with the ball. We didn’t challenge them, and when we did get field position we dropped it on play one or play two.

“We were off our game management, making sure we did the simple things right to make sure we get field position, but we didn’t do that for long enough periods and Wigan kept it simple.

“We spoke about playing with control, playing with emotion and intensity but control, but we didn’t have that control in our play.

“We’d have had to play very well to come here and we were nowhere near that and we got what we deserved.”

Wigan Head Coach Shaun Wane said: “It was really good against a really good team. I’m really happy with the 20 points, but we always looked in control with our defence.

“They didn’t really bother us, the conditions helped that but we spoke all week about that. This is a big one, the players all week said how they’ve been looking forward to this one, and to stop them scoring with the quality they’ve got is great for me.”

The Centurions defended doggedly in the mud, restricting the Warriors to a single first-half try, Lewis Tierney reacting first to Williams’ cross kick for Gelling to pounce.

It was a measure of the respect with which Wigan held Leigh’s defensive resolve that they failed with two drop-goal attempts and a penalty in the closing stages of a first-half dogfight in the clinging mud.

Williams jinked his way over after Tony Clubb was held up short of the line within six minutes of the re-start and Escare’s conversion and a 66th minute penalty saw the home side move clear.

Gelling, fortunate to escape a yellow card after kicking a loose ball back into play, made the most of his reprieve with his second try to finish the scoring.

Despite several spells of pressure Leigh failed to breach the rock solid Warriors defence, Matty Dawson going closest before being bundled into touch. Ben Crooks thought he had scored just after half-time but was recalled for a knock-on in the build-up.

Former Warriors players Micky Higham, Harrison Hansen and Danny Tickle led the forward effort for the Centurions in a fiercely fought local derby.

Curtis Naughton and Lachlan Burr made their Centurions debuts, earning Heritage Numbers 1426 and 1427 respectively.

Wigan Warriors: Morgan Escare; Lewis Tierney, Anthony Gelling, Joe Burgess, Liam Marshall; George Williams, Thomas Leuluai; Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sam Powell, Ben Flower, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin (Capt). Interchange: Joel Tomkins, Tony Clubb, Taulima Tautai, Ryan Sutton.

Tries: Gelling (7, 69), Williams (46); Goals: Escare 4/ 5.

Leigh Centurions: Mitch Brown; Curtis Naughton, Ben Crooks, Willie Tonga, Matty Dawson; Ben Reynolds, Josh Drinkwater; Gareth Hock, Micky Higham (Capt), James Green, Danny Tickle, Atelea Vea, Harrison Hansen. Interchange: Eloi Pelissier, Sam Hopkins, Jamie Acton, Lachlan Burr.

Attendance: 15,699; Half-time: 6-0; Referee: Robert Hicks.

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