Super League 2013 is in full swing and so it seems are the reigning premiers, Wigan Warriors after a opening day demolition of Salford City Reds.
Pre-season saw mixed results for the Warriors which included a 22-0 defeat to rivals Warrington Wolves but once the real competition began, Wigan were back to their best with 2012's Man Of Steel Sam Tomkins leading the way and captain Sean O'Loughlin reaching the milestone of 300 appearances.
Salford looked to impress new owner Dr Marwan Koukash with a stellar display but sadly for them it was the visitors who started the brighter as Tomkins opened the scoring with the first try of the 2013 season. A neat sidestep by debutant Blake Green allowed him to offload to Liam Farrell who charged forward before spraying the ball wide to the supporting Tomkins who strolled over the line in the 13th minute.
Salford pushed to try and level the score but Wigan went in again on the half-hour when Matty Smith powered towards the try line only to be blocked by Jack Murphy (on loan from Wigan) before rolling over to stretch and secure the try against his former employers, 12-0 Wigan.
Wigan added another just before the break as 2012 top scorer Josh Charnley opened his 2013 account in style after a nice Smith/Tomkins exchange allowed Goulding to trick two defenders and set up Charnley to go for the corner and hand Wigan a 16-0 lead at half-time.
Wigan's attack suffered a blow early in the second half as Gil Dudson was sin binned for interference and Wigan were down to 12 men but the matter of a missing man had little effect on their momentum as they notched up their fourth try scored by Iain Thornley, the result of a smart kick from Sam Powell which enabled Thornley to scoop up and cross the line, 22-0 Wigan.
An hour gone and Wigan were in total control,even more so as their class really began to shine as two quick tries stunned the Salford line - Tomkins slid through a gap with Richards in support and though Tomkins could have gone over alone he unselfishly passed wide to his winger who flew over to add another four points to the scoreboard, 26-0 Wigan.
Salford had barely restarted before in ran Wigan again as Thornley zipped from deep in the Wigan half to offload to Richards who called in the defence to provide a pass for Liam Farrell who went over to become the sixth scorer on the night and show why he has replaced Gareth Hock as the new number 12.
The win all but sealed and Salford looking to seal some consolation at the least saw Wigan exploit their opponents as Tomkins sealed his brace with a sweet solo run from deep in his own half before then scoring his hat-trick try after nice work from Green to put Wigan 42-0 up.
As the match entered the final stages, Salford's desperate push to avoid being 'nilled' was met by a resolute Wigan defence which held firm until the end of the 80 minutes to provide then with a satisfying clean sheet and a well earned two points.
Next week, Wigan host rivals Warrington at the DW stadium in the first home game of the season and as with all home matches in 2013, my coverage will be more focused with the use of multimedia and hopefully live updates.