WEMBLEY bound Leigh Leopards suffered a return to Super League reality check as borough rivals Wigan Warriors romped to a comprehensive 44-18 derby win.

The Challenge Cup finalists have never won at the DW Stadium and this heaviest defeat of a stand-out season was a 13th successive loss on Wigan soil since victory at Central Park in 1983.

Defeat -only Leigh's second in 15 league and cup outings - also cost Adrian Lam's side second place in the table on points difference.

What proved a one-sided contest started promisingly with Tom Amone's try putting the visitors into a 12th minute lead.

Bevan French quickly levelled before two tries in three minutes before half-time put Matt Peet's team in the driving seat.

Beaten 34-6 at Leigh Sports Village earlier in season, Leigh couldn't mount a second half fightback and man of the match Abbas Miski notched a hat-trick to add to two earlier assists.

Leigh fans had started the afternoon in great spirits, reserving their cheer when teams were announced for under-scrutiny skipper John Asiata.

One-time Wigan St Pats youngster Lachlan Lam made the game's first incisive break. But it came on the fifth tackle with Ben Reynolds unable to take advantage on the last.

A stupid swipe at Zak Hardaker's head by Liam Farrell earned Leopards a penalty and another attacking position.

And they capitalised as prop Amone wrong footed Wigan's defence with a neat step before powering through three defenders to the line. Reynolds easily goaled to make it 6-0.

Leigh's lead lasted six minutes. Farrell's surge from half-way was carried on by Jai Field and then French though the final pass to the try scorer looked suspiciously forward. Harry Smith converted to tie the scores.

The end of the first quarter marked the entrance of Warriors' debut boy Tyler Dupree following his switch from Salford.

Reynolds was grateful to video referee Chris Kendall for sparing his blushes after 24 minutes. The stand-off's loose pass had Tom Briscoe, under pressure from Liam Marshall, scrambling for the ball.

Marshall got the ball away to Jake Wardle who raced 80 metres, outpacing Reynolds to ground in front of 3,000 Leigh fans.

Instead, Briscoe was adjudged to have been tackled without the ball and play was brought back for a penalty.

Three minutes before the break Kendall was pressed into service this time. Despite suggestions of another forward pass and then a knock on as Miski kicked ahead, Toby King's try was allowed to stand.

And 11 seconds from the break, Leigh's left edge cracked again. Miski put boot to ball and French got palms on the ball at the second attempt. Smith converted one of the two to put Wigan into a commanding 16-6 interval lead.

And Leopards' fate was practically sealed when slack tackling allowed Dupree to mark his first appearance in Cherry and White with a 48th minute try. Smith converted.

Leigh's response was to introduce Joe Wardle for his first game in five months but it was younger brother Jake with family bragging rights.

Ex London Bronco winger Miski scored a 19-minute treble, including a brace of interceptions, and Liam Marshall also touched down.

To their credit Leigh kept attacking and were rewarded with late tries from Tom Briscoe and Robbie Mulhern.

Wigan: Field; Miski, King, Jake Wardle, Marshall; French, Smith; Ellis, O'Neill, Byrne, Pearce-Paul, Farrell, Smithies; substitutes: Cust, Mago, Nsemba, Dupree.

Tries: French (18, 40), King (37), Dupree (48), Miski (52, 61, 71), Marshall (60)

Goals: Smith 6/8

Leigh: O'Brien, Briscoe, Chamberlain, Hardaker, Charnley; Reynolds, Lam; Amone, Mellor, Mulhern, Holmes, Hughes, Asiata; substitutes: Nakubuwai, Wilde, Davis, Joe Wardle.

Tries: Amone (12), Briscoe (69), Mulhern (78)

Goals: Reynolds 3/3

Referee: Jack Smith

Half-time: 16-6

Attendance: 15,377