Wigan go one step closer to a first and last ever undefeated campaign in the Super 8s after a scrappy win over Huddersfield. Here’s our verdict…
The away side got the first half underway and after 10 minutes of back-and-forth play, Sam Tomkins broke the deadlock with a penalty kick after his teammate John Bateman was held for a little too long.
Minutes later Morgan Escare bagged his eighth try of the season after breaking the Huddersfield defence with his brute strength and footwork. Tomkins missed his kick which meant Wigan only led by six points.
With the match being played under difficult weather conditions, Wigan were able to hold on to their lead. The Giants did dominate possession for the second-quarter of the game though, forcing errors from the visitors.
They came close when Danny Brough created some space, allowing Ukuma Ta’ai to edge close and offload to Matty English at pace. However he was just inches away from the tryline after a superb defending from Wigan, summing up the story of the first half.
The rain continued to play it’s part for the majority of the second half as well, with the next points only coming on the verge of the hour-mark, when Escare extended the Warriors’ lead with a drop-goal.
With just over ten minutes left, Huddersfield were given a lifeline as good sliding defence prevented Wigan from scoring a crucial try. On last play they switched the ball, with George Williams placing a great kick and Tom Davies going over in the corner. However, video referee Ben Thaler ruled no try due to a knock-on from the winger.
The Giants responded with a try from Kruise Leeming, after a great run from Ryan Hinchcliffe took them close and the hooker was able to exploit a gap and dart over for a try, reducing the gap to just one point.
However, their cause wasn’t helped with five minutes left when Danny Brough was sin-binned for the rest of the match after a high tackle on Escare.
Wigan took the opportunity to get themselves in drop goal range but Gabe Hamlin went for the line. The ball was spilled but Williams picked up the ball and ran through the on-rushing defence, laying it off to Oliver Gildart to seal the win.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Valiant effort from Huddersfield
Despite their unfortunate form, Huddersfield had the opportunities to pressure Wigan but the weather was certainly a factor in getting them over the line.
Leeming’s try gave them hope, but it came just too late for the Giants to claim something from the game.
Wigan held on
Despite having much less possession the Warriors were able to get a tough win at the DW Stadium after some facing some ongoing pressure from their opposition.
The last ten minutes proved to be a crucial period and their experience helped get Gildart over the line to finish off the fixture, although the performance on the whole will not have pleased coach Shaun Wane.
Man of the Match – Morgan Escare (Wigan Warriors)
Escare earned the man-of-the-match after scoring a try and bagging a drop-goal.
The young full-back was superb in defence as he held the relentless pressure from Huddersfield.
Huddersfield Giants 6
Tries: Leeming (71′)
Goals: Brough (1/1)
Drop Goals: n/a
Wigan Warriors 13
Tries: Escare (16′), Gildart (78′)
Goals: Tomkins (2/3)
Drop Goals: Escare (59′)
Huddersfield Giants: Gaskell, Rankin, Mellor, Mamo, Senior, Russell, Brough, Lawrence, O’Brien, Matagi, Ta’ai, Roberts, Hinchcliffe.
Interchanges: Leeming, Clough, English, Roche.
Wigan Warriors: Escare, Manfredi, Gildart, Sarginson, Davies, Wiliams, Tomkins, Clubb, Powell, Navarrete, Greenwood, Bateman, Sutton.
Interchanges: Hamlin, Partington, Woods, Tautai.
Referee: Greg Dolan