Morris' debut hat-trick guides Roosters to World Club Challenge glory
Brett Morris enjoyed a dream debut as his hat-trick helped Sydney Roosters to hold off a spirited Wigan Warriors in a 20-8 victory that clinched a record-equalling fourth World Club Challenge.
Powerful winger Morris, a close-season signing from Canterbury Bulldogs, crossed three times in a dominant opening period at the DW Stadium that belied the 14-4 half-time scoreline.
Tom Davies' try had kept Wigan in the game at the break and, in a much-improved second-half showing, Liam Marshall's expert 65th-minute score threatened a dramatic comeback but Daniel Tupou's late effort ended the contest.
The Roosters now equal Wigan's tally of four Club Challenge victories, while the Warriors' defeat of Cronulla Sharks two years ago is the only time the Super League has recorded a victory over the NRL in the past seven editions.
The Roosters, who also overcame Wigan in 2014, had their first try in just the third minute. Matt Ikuvalu showed sensational hands to keep the ball alive deep in his own half and the visitors worked down the field before Morris evaded three tackles to go over.
Wigan's defence was lacklustre again shortly after when Morris once more displayed great power to hold off four tackles and dot down, replicating his double against the same opposition for St. George-Illawarra Dragons in 2011.
A late hit by Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on Sam Powell had Wigan blood boiling and from the resulting penalty the Warriors progressed through the sets to work the ball right for Davies to dive over.
Morris had a third, though, when neat hands and dummy runners opened up another gaping hole in Wigan's defence.
Siosiua Taukeiaho's penalty just before the hour stretched Sydney's lead after a spell of Wigan pressure, but the Warriors ensured it was game on with 15 minutes to go.
George Williams fired a pass left and Marshall controlled the ball with his feet and brilliantly picked up to just ground in the corner and narrow the gap to eight points.
However, Luke Keary's kick high to the left corner was brilliantly handled by Tupou, who ended Wigan's resistance in style.