Brett Morris bagged a hat-trick in the first half of his Sydney Roosters debut to stun Wigan. Picture: Getty
Brett Morris bagged a hat-trick in the first half of his Sydney Roosters debut to stun Wigan. Picture: Getty

Morris hat-trick on Roosters debut stuns Wigan

Sydney Roosters have claimed a record-equalling fourth World Club Challenge title with a 20-8 win over Super League champions Wigan at the DW Stadium.

A brilliant first-half hat-trick by veteran Brett Morris, on his Roosters debut, laid the foundations for the win as the NRL premiers clinically put their hosts to the sword with an impressive display.

Former NSW and Australia back Morris, who was released by Canterbury at the end of last season, showed he's lost none of his finishing power with two magnificent tries in the opening eight minutes.

The 32-year-old opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he somehow got the ball down when lying on his back and seemingly held up by the Wigan defence.

Morris crossed again to stun the near capacity 21,000 home crowd when he muscled his way past four home defenders.

Goal kicking prop Siosiua Taukeiaho added the extras.

Reeling from their horror start, Wigan struggled to get the ball out of their own half.

James Tedesco runs the ball during the World Club Challenge against the Wigan Warriors at DW Stadium. Picture: Getty
James Tedesco runs the ball during the World Club Challenge against the Wigan Warriors at DW Stadium. Picture: Getty

However, a late tackle by Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on Sam Powell that resulted in a 20-man brawl, re-energised the home fans and their players responded with their best spell of the half.

After turning down two chances to kick for penalties in front of the posts, Wigan were rewarded for that positivity with a well-worked try as winger Tom Davies darted over untouched in the right corner.

Eight minutes before halftime Morris grabbed his third - emulating Michael Jennings' feat against Wigan in this match five years ago in Sydney - when he once again stood up England centre Oliver Gildart and powered his way over the line.

Wigan’s George Williams tries to get back Mitchell Aubusson during the first half. Picture: Getty
Wigan’s George Williams tries to get back Mitchell Aubusson during the first half. Picture: Getty

The second period was more even affair until Taukeiaho's penalty extended the Roosters' lead 20 minutes after the restart.

Wigan enjoyed far more possession in the visitors' half but some laboured final tackle options and an impressive Roosters defence kept them at bay. A moment of brilliance from Liam Marshall cut the deficit to 16-8 with the winger having the foresight to control a poor pass with his foot, scoop the ball in his left hand and dive over for a try.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves showed his usual grunt up the middle during the World Club Challenge. Picture: AP
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves showed his usual grunt up the middle during the World Club Challenge. Picture: AP

However, Zak Hardaker was unable to kick the extra two points from the sideline and two late attacks by the hosts came to nothing.

Roosters winger Daniel Tupou then added some extra gloss to the scoreline with a try in the final seconds, hauling in the outstanding Luke Keary's high kick.

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