Wigan enjoy comfortable warm-up win
Teenage winger Joe Burgess continued his try-fest with four touchdowns as Wigan Warriors warmed up for the World Club Challenge with a 46-22 victory over New Zealand Warriors in Hamilton.
The match at the Waikato Stadium, which was beamed to the UK by Wigan TV, was organised to give the First Utility Super League champions much-needed practice ahead of their clash with Sydney Roosters on Saturday week and there were more positives than negatives for coach Shaun Wane.
The visitors trailed 22-16 at half-time to a weakened Warriors side but dominated the second half, with 21-year-old Sam Powell leading the way in the absence of Australian stand-off Blake Green.
Burgess, 19, who scored in Wigan's opening 24-8 Super League defeat by Huddersfield Giants to add to the six tries registered in two pre-season games, provided the finishing touches with four of his side's nine tries.
Two other youngsters, Dom Manfredi and Ryan Hampshire, also pushed their claims for places against the Roosters while former Bradford Bulls forward John Bateman was also impressive on his first appearance.
Wigan were without skipper Sean O'Loughlin, who is nursing a hamstring injury, but England winger Josh Charnley made his first appearance since the World Cup after recovering from a hernia operation and hooker Michael McIlorum began the match after playing on 16 minutes against Huddersfield.
Wane's men made an ideal start, racing into a 12-0 lead inside eight minutes with tries from second rower Jack Hughes and Burgess, both converted by acting captain Matty Smith.
But the Aucklanders exposed Wigan's defensive frailty to open up a six-point lead by half-time thanks to tries from Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Nathan Friend, Nathaniel Peteru and Chad Towsnend, who also kicked three goals.
Darrell Goulding had scored Wigan's only other first-half try but it was a different game after the break, however, as Wane's youngsters stepped up to the mark.
The lethal Burgess completed his hat-trick within 10 minutes of the restart, prop Gil Dudson took advantage of a delightful offload from Bateman to crash over and Powell re-gathered his own grubber kick to score a solo try.
Manfredi provided the highlight when he diffused a kick from Townsend 10 metres from his own line and sprinted 90 metres to score before Burgess wrapped up the scoring with his fourth try three minutes from the end.
Afterwards Smith said: "It was scratchy in parts but I thought it was a great second half from the boys.
"We've a lot to work on for next week. We wanted an 80-minute performance and I don't think we were quite there tonight. But we were up against a great opposition in the Warriors.
"We need to recover properly over the next couple of days and then hit training hard. We need to work on our plays and our defence because I think that is what is going to win us the game next week.
"Our defence needs to stand up better than it did tonight."