Super League: Wigan Warriors go top after win over Hull KR

Jackson Hastings
Jackson Hastings scored twice for Wigan to earn a key win over injury-hit Hull KR
Betfred Super League
Wigan (18) 30
Tries: Hastings 2, Farrell, Powell, Marshall Goals: Hardaker 3
Hull KR (12) 16
Tries: Ryan, Minikin, Brierley Goals: Brierley 2

Playmaker Jackson Hastings scored two tries as Wigan Warriors overpowered a brave Hull KR in the second half to go top of Super League.

Wigan led 18-12 at the break, as Hastings' double and Liam Farrell's score kept them just ahead following Ethan Ryan and Greg Minikin tries.

Ryan Brierley added a try after half-time, but that was as good as it got for Rovers at 18-16 down.

Sam Powell and Liam Marshall both scored tries to secure the points.

Victory ensured Wigan, who were temporarily nudged off the top by the impressive form of Leeds Rhinos, are back on the summit after round six.

As bewitching as Wigan proved to be in patches, particularly with the electrifying Bevan French chiming in from full-back, the nature of Rovers' fifth straight loss can be explained in part by serious misfortune on the injury front.

Already without Ben Crooks, who was ably deputised for by scoring debutant Ryan, and a host of other talents including hooker Matt Parcell and prop Mitch Garbutt, head coach Tony Smith could only watch on as his patched-up side suffered further concerns to Matty Storton, Robbie Mulhern, Joe Keyes and Will Maher.

However, their tries showed sharpness to capitalise on Wigan looseness; Brierley swooped on a Bevan French pass to break and set up Ryan, and then collected a bobbling Powell pass to scorch downfield, while Minikin latched onto the ball after Marshall spilled a kick to score his effort.

Wigan have not quite hit top gear in terms of performance yet according to their head coach Adrian Lam despite a "pleasing start", but in players such as Farrell - restored to Shaun Wane's new England invitational squad - and Marshall, they have players in form and a growing confidence.

Hastings, ignored by the new England boss, twisted in to touch his try down, and supported French's searing break for his second, while Farrell was typically robust in his charge for the line.

Powell barged over from a Tommy Leuluai short-ball to give the Cherry and Whites a buffer after the break and Farrell turned provider with smart hands to set up Marshall's effort on the left side to finish off the scoring.

Wigan coach Adrian Lam:

"Sometimes you've got to win ugly games and last year we lost a few of those.

"When you give away the first try, it puts you straight on the back foot and I'm proud that the players hung in there together.

"I wasn't bothered about playing great today but wanted them playing as a team.

"Going two points clear is nice but we've got a lot of work to do and we've got to make sure our feet are grounded."

Hull KR coach Tony Smith:

"I'm very proud of the efforts and the improvement in our defence.

"Our methods were better today, we bent our back a bit more and I felt we held our own for large parts of the game.

"We should get a bit of confidence out of holding a team who are top of the table and maybe we could have got a bit more out of it if we had asked a few more questions of our opponents on their try line."

Wigan: French; Manfredi, Hardaker, Bibby, Marshall; Leuluai, Hastings; Byrne, Powell, Partington, Farrell, Isa, Smithies.

Replacements: G. Burgess, Flower, Havard, Smith.

Hull KR: Dagger; Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Linnett, Ryan; Keyes, Brierley; Mulhern, Minchella, Lawler, Livett, Storton, Gee.

Replacements: Abdull, Murray, Litten, W. Maher.

Referee: Tom Grant (RFL)

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