2nd November 2018, 12:00 | super_league
Joe Burgess scored a hat-trick of tries as Wigan Warriors were crowned Dacia World Club Challenge champions for a record fourth time with a 22-6 victory over Cronulla Sharks at the DW Stadium.
Shaun Wane's side followed in the footsteps of Warrington Wolves, who beat Brisbane Broncos on Saturday night, to give Betfred Super League a 2-0 success over the NRL in the World Club Series.
Impressive winger Burgess produced an acrobatic finish in the corner in the third minute before completing a simpler chance 19 minutes later as Wigan led 10-0 at the break.
Oliver Gildart, whose father was part of the Wigan squad who won the World Club Challenge in 1987, extended Wigan's lead as he barged over four minutes after half-time.
Jesse Ramien gave Cronulla a lifeline just before the hour mark, touching down in the corner from a grubber kick following a fine team move, but they were unable to break down an excellent Wigan defence before Burgess completed his treble at the death and Morgan Escare kicked his third goal.
Wigan coach Wane says winning the World Club Challenge as a coach topped his elation at achieving the feat as a player.
Wane, who was man of the match when Wigan claimed their first title in 1987 with victory over Manly, said: "It's a better feeling as a coach because you've got 17 players trusting your game plan. To get that trust off your players is great.
"I'm very happy, not necessarily with the way we played but certainly with the win. Tony (Smith) did a great job with Warrington last night, they were worthy winners and I think we were today.
"We did too much defending but quality of defence was very good, I'm very, very proud.
"I'm pleased with the way they stuck at it, they showed some real desire to defend our line. It was a great effort.
"Winning such a prestigious trophy against a club like Cronulla, who are worthy champions in Australia, is a fantastic feeling."
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan said: "It was real physical. I thought both sides dug in and had a go, it was a real quality game.
"Wigan took their chances in the first half and we didn't. They made the best of their opportunities.
"It was a fantastic game, a great crowd, and it was good for us. It was a really good game leading into our season."