Winger Dom Manfredi stole the limelight from Ben Flower and Sam Tomkins as Wigan thrilled a 14,175 crowd at the DW Stadium with a thrilling win over Warrington.
Most eyes before kick-off were on Welsh international Flower as he prepared to make his return from a six-month suspension imposed for punching Lance Hohaia in October’s Grand Final defeat by St Helens.
And the Wigan fans were delighted at half-time when the club announced the re-signing of Tomkins on a four-year deal from New Zealand Warriors form 2016.
By the end of a pulsating derby, however, it was the name of 21-year-old Manfredi which was on most people’s lips after he scored a second hat-trick in five days.
Manfredi had touched down three times in Wigan’s 34-0 win over Catalans Dragons on Sunday and he last night demonstrated his exceptional ability yest again.
Warrington could hardly have made a better start, scoring two tries inside the first 10 minutes as they monopolised the early play.
Captain Joel Monaghan enjoyed an unopposed run-in after taking Stefan Ratchford’s cut-out pass to open the scoring, the latter adding the touchline conversion. The visitors increased their lead through Chris Bridge.
Wigan barely had touched the ball at that stage but they quickly demonstrated their attacking flair with two superbly-crafted touchdowns, the first for Liam Farrell before Sydney-bound Joe Burgess was the provider for full-back Ryan Hampshire, with Matty Smith’s second goal edging his side in front.
The lead changed hands twice more before half-time, with Bridge grabbing his second, only for Manfredi to cancel it out by taking advantage of some outrageous offloads from Anthony Gelling and Joel Tomkins to go over.
Leading 16-14 at the break, the highly-impressive Gelling twice took the wrong option as Wigan were the first to attack in the second half and the misses began to look costly when second rower Ben Currie sliced through the home defence for his side’s fourth try to put them back in front.
Wigan were not to be denied, however, and Manfredi went over twice in eight minutes to complete his hat-trick and apply the finishing touches to a fine win.
The hosts produced some quick hands to get him over on 61 minutes but it needed a huge slice of good fortune for him to complete his hat-trick, with Smith’s drop-goal attempt charged down and falling nicely for the big winger after Gelling had instinctively put his boot to the loose ball.