Wigan Warriors coach hails hat-trick hero Josh Charnley following Challenge Cup demolition of Widnes

By Mark Shales

Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane praised winger Josh Charnley after his first-half hat-trick helped brush aside local rivals Widnes Vikings in Monday night’s Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Tries for Sam Tomkins, Matty Smith, Liam Farrell and Blake Green added to Charnley’s trio, setting up a semi-final clash with London Broncos on Saturday 27 July.

And despite the comfortable nature of the 48-4 result at the DW Stadium, Wane admitted the win was all that counted

“We played well,” he said. “It’s a cup competition so you’re just looking to win at all costs.

“You’re not looking for a perfect performance, just to get through to the next round and we did that.

“We scored some good tries and Josh Charnley was outstanding. He has been consistently good for months.

“Me and Josh had some words a few months back about how he can improve and he’s really picking up on himself.

“He tries hard in training, he works hard on individual skills and it shows in how he plays – he’s a great winger.”

The England international wasted no time in getting on the score-sheet, running the length of the right-wing to give Wigan the lead inside nine minutes.

Charnley then doubled his tally four minutes later in opportunistic fashion, after scooping up the loose ball 40 yards out before Pat Richards kicked his second two-pointer of the night.

Tomkins extended Wigan’s lead on 18 minutes after clever passing from captain Sean O’Loughlin and centre Anthony Gelling allowed him to cut through for a simple score.

Smith showed his pace four minutes later, winning the foot-race to crash under the sticks following a deft pass from Farrell.

Patrick Ah Van looked to have given the visitors hope heading towards half-time when he picked up Kevin Brown’s superbly placed kick to touch down in the left-hand corner.

But a careless pass from Brown moments later gifted Charnley his third score of the night as Pat Richards maintained his 100% record with boot three minutes before the break.

The Warriors began the second half where they left off with Farrell touching down between the sticks inside a minute of the restart.

Substitute Jack Hampshire finished off a piece of Wigan magic brought about by an impossible one-handed off-load by Green on 57 minutes with Richards’ kicking by now a formality.

Green then capped off a dominant performance with a try of his own 13 minutes from time following further sloppiness from the Vikings, before Richards brought his tally to 16 points.

The Super League leaders will now travel nine miles to the Leigh Sports Village to face the league’s bottom club in the next round but Wane insists nothing will be taken for granted.

“It’s 80 minutes and it’s cup football once again,” he added. “If you don’t turn up with your A1 game you’ll get burnt.

“They’ve got [halfback Jamie] Soward in there and they’ll be looking forward to it.

“I’m really pleased for the players that they’ve been rewarded with a semi-final and I just want to make sure we go there and give a good account of ourselves.

“Our preperations will be spot-on as they have been all year and I expect a good performance – I know if we’re defending tough and concentrating in attack we will trouble teams.”

Image courtesy of SkySports, via YouTube, with thanks. 

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