Michael Jennings was the star scoring a hat-trick as the Sydney Roosters proved too good for Wigan Warriors 36-14 in the World Club Challenge at Allianz Stadium.
Jennings was scored the opening try of the game easily brushing past Josh Charnley on his way to the line. His second came after Matt Bowen couldn’t clean up a loose ball in-goal to extend the Roosters lead to eighteen points mid-way through the first half. Both tries were separated by Sam Moa barging over the line. Jennings finished his hat-trick early in the second half after he swooped on a Wigan ball following a mistake inside their own half.
Wigan came out from the sheds looking competitive in the first couple of sets before the Roosters got over the line. A combination of no possession and bad discipline in the first half hour put the visitors on the back foot. Eddy Pettybourne was placed on report after catching Shaun Kenny-Dowall high just short of half time.
It would take forty-four minutes for Wigan to crack the Roosters line and get on the scoreboard. A few repeat sets and nineteen year old centre Joe Burgess finished off a play instrumented by Blake Green. Josh Charnley bagged a double. His first coming from a lucky bounce following a towering kick by Matty Smith, and poor communication at the back between Anthony Minichiello and Daniel Tupou, allowing the ball bounce between them. Charnley’s second was the completion of a good backline move where the decorated winger was presented with a short run to the line on the overlap. This got the Warriors back within ten points heading towards the hour mark.
The Roosters snuffed out the Warriors fight-back with late tries to Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Kenny-Dowall to put the game beyond doubt in front of a healthy crowd of 31,515. The home side will be happy to get over the line, with room for improvement heading into their opening game of the National Rugby League season against the South Sydney Rabbitohs Thursday week. At times the Roosters were scrappy but proved too strong and fast. Jake Friend awarded the Man of the Match for a solid performance ahead of Jennings. Warea-Hargraves gave the visitors a handful while Sonny Bill-Williams was relatively quiet in his final year before returning to rugby union.
Wigan haven’t started off 2014 too well having lost their opening Super League match as life begins without Sam Tomkins, Pat Richards and Lee Mossop with their moves to NRL clubs. They warmed to the challenge forty-four minutes too late in a more competitive second half. Matt Bowen was disappointing at the back with Wigan fans already questioning the club’s decision to sign him. On the bright side Smith, Burgess and Charnley were among the best on the losing side.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 36 (M Jennings 3, S Moa, J Warea-Hargreaves, S Kenny-Dowall tries; J Maloney 6 goals) defeated WIGAN WARRIORS 14 (J Charnley 2, J Burgess tries; M Smith goal)