Wigan Warriors 8-20 Sydney Roosters: NRL side win World Club Challenge
|World Club Challenge|
|Wigan Warriors (4) 8|
|Try: Davies, Marshall|
|Sydney Roosters (14) 20|
|Tries: Morris 3, Tupou Goals: Taukeiaho 2|
Brett Morris scored a hat-trick as National Rugby League side Sydney Roosters beat Wigan Warriors to win a record-equalling fourth World Club Challenge title.
Morris crossed twice early to silence a raucous DW Stadium crowd but Wigan struck back through a smart Tom Davies finish midway through the first half.
However, Morris completed a hat-trick of tries with just over half an hour gone to pile the pressure on the hosts.
Sio Siua Taukeiaho's 60th-minute penalty gave the Roosters breathing space only for Liam Marshall's try to set up a thrilling finale before Daniel Tupou sealed victory for the Australian side.
In their last meeting, the Roosters beat Wigan at Sydney Football Stadium to win their third World Club Challenge and a dominant first-half display helped them add another title.
Buoyed by having two giants of the Australian game in Cooper Cronk and Boyd Cordner among their ranks, Trent Robinson's side were forced to work hard to beat 2018's Super League champions in their own stadium.
Before the game, the Cherry and Whites had enjoyed four triumphs against Australian opposition in 1987, 1991, 1994 and most recently in 2017, when they overcame Cronulla Sharks.
It was the first time in two years the match had been played in England after last season's fixture took place in Australia, with Melbourne Storm reportedly reluctant to disrupt their pre-season and travel to the northern hemisphere.
Super League's champions have won 13 finals, compared to the NRL's 12, however the NRL sides have now won eight of the past 10 matches.
The Roosters included England wing Ryan Hall, an off-season signing from Leeds Rhinos, in their pre-match squad but he did not make the matchday 17.
Knowing your opponents
This year's meeting of the northern and southern hemisphere champions saw new Wigan coach Adrian Lam face the club at which his son Lachlan plays.
Lam, who has won one of his two Super League games since replacing Shaun Wane on a one-year interim basis before Shaun Edwards joins in 2020, knew his opponents better than most going into the game.
The 48-year-old played 146 games for the Roosters before a move to Wigan as a player in 2001.
Since his retirement, the Papua New Guinea half-back has worked on the coaching staff of both clubs including a spell behind the scenes of the Roosters' first-team last term.
A better second half followed for Lam's side as they chased down what was an initial 12-point deficit after Taukeiaho's penalty, but Marshall's inspired try did little more than get the hosts to within touching distance.
A strong Roosters side
While the Warriors are two games into the season, the Roosters' 2019 NRL season does not get under way until 15 March, when they take on Sam Burgess' South Sydney Rabbitohs.
In the build up to the game, Roosters head coach Robinson used the trip as a chance to give his squad some cultural insights - with a trip to the Somme battlefields and time in Paris - in addition to opposed training sessions with Toulouse and St Helens.
Robinson fielded a strong side including two players who have won all there is to with Australia, their state and their club - captain Cordner and star half-back Cronk.
However it was Morris, who joined the Roosters from Canterbury before the 2019 season, proved the difference courtesy of his impressive first-half treble.
'We were gutsy' - what they said
Sydney Roosters stand-off Luke Keary told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra:
"We knew they would be physical, we matched them but they didn't stop coming at us. When we got the two quick tries I thought we might run away with it but they didn't stop.
"It was topsy-turvy in the second half, they had chances to draw level, but we were gutsy in defence."
Sydney Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra:
"It is satisfying. It's a long way to come; playing on this ground and against a really strong Wigan team it means a lot to us.
"We knew it would be tough, both sides played really good footy and we're proud to get the win."
Wigan winger Liam Marshall told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra:
"It was a tough challenge, we knew that. We were disappointed with the soft tries in the first-half but we showed a better display second-half and we can take positives out of that."
Wigan Warriors: Hardaker; Davies, Gildart, Sarginson, Marshall; Williams, Leuluai; Clubb, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Farrell, O'Loughlin.
Replacements: Navarrete, Isa, Hamlin, Bullock.
Sydney Roosters: Tedesco; Tupou, Manu, Morris, Ikuvalu; Keary, Cronk; Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Cordner, Aubusson, Radley.
Replacements: I Liu, Tetevano, Collins, Butcher.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL)