Super League: Wigan Warriors dominate Salford Red Devils
Last Updated: 23/05/14 7:45am
Joe Burgess: Youngster shone again with two tries against Salford
Injury-hit Wigan narrowed the gap to First Utility Super League leaders Leeds to just one point with a 25-4 win over Salford at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The Warriors went into the game without nine regulars and lost hooker Michael McIlorum midway through the first half, but Shaun Wane's youngsters had the contest well under control.
It was a miserable night for former Warriors assistant and current Red Devils coach Iestyn Harris, whose side have now gone seven matches without a victory.
Teenage winger Joe Burgess led the way with two of his side's four tries while former Salford scrum-half Matty Smith kicked four goals and a drop goal.
Referee Phil Bentham's referred a grand total of eight decisions to video official Ben Thaler, who disallowed three tries to Salford and two to Wigan before finally giving the green light to three Wigan scores.
There was a surprise re-appearance of Australian scrum-half Tim Smith, one of four ex-Wigan players in the Salford line-up, along with on-loan hooker Logan Tomkins, but he was never able to make his mark on the game.
Thaler was arguably the busiest man at the ground as he ruled out early tries from Salford's Francis Meli and Wigan's Ryan Hampshire for obstruction.
The hosts had the majority of possession but Wigan always looked the more likely scorers, with 19-year-old Burgess and fellow winger Dominic Manfredi going close to touching down kicks from Sam Powell and Matty Smith.
On a rare foray to the Wigan line, former Warrior Gareth Hock had a try disallowed for a double movement while Thaler also denied Wigan centre Dan Sarginson for an obstruction.
The only try of the first half came on the interval when Smith showed his footballing skills to set up the score for second rower John Bateman, who outpaced full-back Greg Eden to ground the ball.
Referee Bentham referred that to the fourth official as well, whose announcement of a try was greeted by ironic cheers from the travelling fans.
Smith's successful conversion made it 6-0 and he was again on target five minutes into the second half after Powell had taken in his pass to jink over for Wigan's second try.
Salford lacked the kicking game to get out of their own half and it was no surprise when the visitors extended their lead on 52 minutes, with Burgess accepting Hampshire's pass following his weaving run to slide over for his first try.
Salford forward Matty Ashurst then had a try disallowed by Thaler for a ball steal and Wigan extended their lead with a Smith drop goal and a 70-metre try from Burgess.
The Red Devils finished a well-beaten side but at least avoided the embarrassment of being blanked when Meli went over for a consolation try 90 seconds from time.