Wigan Warriors moved level on points with Warrington Wolves thanks to a clinical 20-6 win over the second-placed Super League side on Friday.
The Warriors boosted their hopes of reaching the qualifying final, where they could face Warrington again, after scoring three tries in the space of 11 ruthless first-half minutes.
Wire were playing their final fixture before the Challenge Cup final against runaway Super League leaders St Helens but struggled to break Wigan down even in the spell after Oliver Gildart was sent to the sin bin.
Victory means rampant Wigan have now won nine of their 10 matches since the sides’ previous meeting in late May.
— Wigan Warriors (@WiganWarriorsRL) August 16, 2019
Bevan French, making his home debut for the Warriors, got the first points of the game after 15 minutes, taking a pass from Zak Hardaker to score down the flank.
Hardaker kicked the extras and he soon had two more tries to convert, too.
Three minutes after French’s score George Williams darted through a gap in the Wire defence to extend the hosts’ lead and Hardaker himself got the third after pouncing on a bouncing ball and getting the benefit of a review.
The match was then scoreless until Hardaker increased his points total to 12 with a 40-metre penalty.
A first period of sustained Wolves pressure followed when Gildart went in high on Jake Mamo, but Wigan defended bravely.
There was a belated response after Gildart returned to the field, with Tom Lineham scoring and Declan Patton dispatching the kick, yet the home side were comfortable victors.