Wigan defeated Penrith 21-4 in a brutal World Club Challenge encounter at Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium, with former All Black, Frano ‘The Boot’ Botica kicking six goals from seven shots to win man of the match honours.
Botica, who had made his league Test debut earlier in the year, kicked four penalty goals in the first 13 minutes as French referee, Alain Sablarrolles punished Penrith for over exuberant tactics. One goal was from the halfway line.
The worst incident was a late tackle by Penrith five eighth, Steve Carter on Wigan halfback and skipper, Andy Gregory. Carter was lucky not to have been sent off.
Penrith hit back with winger, Darren Willis scoring a try from a perfectly judged kick by halfback, Greg Alexander.
The Panthers looked to be taking control, but Gregory had Wigan fans applauding his genius after a short pass put Kiwi Test centre, Sam Panapa in for a try. Panapa was a last minute replacement for fellow Kiwi, Dean Bell, who broke down in the pre-match warm-up.
Ben Alexander came on at the start of the second half, allowing his brother, Greg to move to fullback, with centre, Brad Izzard moving into the pack.
Penrith applied plenty of pressure, but could not crack the Wigan defence. Wigan also struggled against the efficient Penrith defence and it took an intercept by five eighth, Shaun Edwards in the 77th minute to see the next try scored – by winger, David Myers.
Centre, Joe Lydon rounded off the scoring with a last second field goal.
The result gave Wigan’s Australian coach, John Monie his seventh trophy in two years in charge of the Central Park outfit. The crowd at Anfield was 20,152.