Wigan boss Matty Peet hails skipper Liam Farrell as two-try salvo sees off Salford
England second-row, 32, picked up another couple of tries in 26-6 win at Salford which sees them rise from sixth to third in Betfred Super League
Wigan boss Matt Peet praised Liam Farrell’s controlling influence after the captain’s two-try blast helped down Salford.
The evergreen England second-row, who turns 33 on Sunday, has now scored five tries in his last five matches. Joe Shorrocks, Abbas Miski and Liam Marshall also crossed with impressive scrum-half Harry Smith finishing with three goals. Peet said: “What I like about Liam on that left edge is, whichever new players we sign like Jake Wardle, or like when Harry Smith came in for George Williams, he grips that edge.
“He shows understanding with and without the ball. He sometimes gets the rewards – three the other week versus Hull KR and two today. But I thought you saw Harry (Smith) build his game, Jake Wardle and Liam Marshall, too, and he (Farrell) is in control of that left side. Hopefully he’s got a few more years yet.”
The victory saw Wigan jump from sixth to third, leapfrogging their opponents who fell to fifth. Salford were without Man of Steel stand-off Brodie Croft due to a hand injury. But they also lost full-back Ryan Brierley after he suffered a head knock in the 35th minute and failed his HIA meaning he is out of their next two fixtures.
The hosts enjoyed a club record attendance at Salford Stadium of 7,854 on the back of their Armed Forces Appreciation Day. The Red Devils Parachute display team saw their jump called off due to bad weather. The traditional military cannon did boom out three times before kick-off. But when the action started it was Wigan who fired.
Building after their epic Challenge Cup quarter-final success over Warrington, they took the lead when Shorrocks latched onto Smith’s grubber in the 21st minute. However, initially Warriors weren’t able to pull away as Salford went toe-to-toe. And Paul Rowley’s side got their reward after Tim Lafai’s big charge got them in position to strike.
Marc Sneyd then smartly dummied his way through to put Ben Hellewell over in the 31st minute, Sneyd improving. They should have added their second try when Chris Atkin – playing at stand-off in Croft’s absence – surged past Farrell five minutes later. But he opted not to pass to unmarked Deon Cross and the Wigan captain got back to deny him.
Barely two minutes later Farrell was scoring at the other end after Smith’s delightful short pass unleashed Jai Field for an 8-6 interval lead they never looked like losing. Smith showed his handling skill again to get Miski over at the start of the second period and Farrell’s second try made sure.
Marshall raced 80m late on for their fifth try and Rowley – who says England hooker Andy Ackers will return from his head injury in Friday’s game at Wakefield – conceded: “Their (Wigan’s) last plays were the difference. Losing Ryan (Brierley) was a blow but not the turning point.”