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2003 Match Preview: Huddersfield (H)
Match Preview: Huddersfield Match Preview. Posted on Thursday, March 06 2003 @ 18:07:19 GMT by Bilko
Ricky Bibey is named in the Wigan squad for Fridays clash with Huddersfield after missing the away trips to Castleford & Doncaster with a broken finger.

Team: Kris Radlinski, Brett Dallas, David Hodgson, Jamie Ainscough, Brian Carney, Julian O'Neill, Adrian Lam, Craig Smith, Mark Smith (or Terry Newton), Danny Sculthorpe, Danny Tickle, Stephen Wild, Sean O'Loughlin. Subs: Terry Newton (or Mark Smith), Ricky Bibey, Gareth Hock, Martin Aspinwall

Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants Tetley's Super League VIII Round 2
Friday 7th March 2003. Kick Off 8.00pm at JJB Stadium.
Match Introduction
It's hard to fathom out what to expect from Fridays opponents Huddersfield Giants.

Do we expect a team that was pathetically poor last time it was in Super League?


A Giants team that can compete after an unbeaten season in the NFP last year?

Well an 18-14 Challenge Cup lost away at Hunslet, described on our Huddersfield sister site fartowners.co.uk as "The worst Giants performance EVER!", certainly suggests they are up for a struggle this year.

But the same site says the 20-8 loss they suffered against Warrington in Super League VIII Round 1 did produce some "genuine grounds for optimism".

It maybe have been better to have gotten them later in the season so we'd know what to expect. But one thing is for sure, the can't possibly be any worse than last time they played at this level, can they?

In their four previous Super League campaigns they finished rock bottom each time and managed to accumulate less points in those four years than Gateshead Thunder did in their one and only Super League campaign. 

In four previous Super League visits to Wigan the Giants managed to score a total of 16 points compared to our 187 points. That stat alone showed the gulf between the two sides. Only time will tell if Huddersfield have managed to close that gap somewhat. I think if they finish 11th this season there fans will be over the moon!

It will be interesting to see what the attendance will be for Friday Night's home opener. Fans have hardly been out in force for the Widnes friendly or the Halton Simms Cross cup tie. Will people come out for this game?

Our previous first league home game of the season attendances, since moving to the JJB, have been 11,200 (v Leeds 2000), 11,138 (v Warrington 2001) & 14,170 (v Bradford 2002). 

Obviously you can really compare Huddersfield to those sides but all three of those games where on Sky TV, so for me anything less than 9,000 would be a really poor crowd. Ideally we should be getting at least 10,000+ every game but we do not live in an ideal world. Super League officials are expecting record-breaking aggregate attendances for a super league round this weekend so it would be nice if we could make a decent contribution to that. Get down the JJB and help maybe achieve it!

Good to see Ricky Bibey back for this match. Not only will his return take pressure of the second rowers who have had to prop during his and Terry O'Connor's absence, but he'll also give much needed back up to Craig Smith and Danny Sculthorpe who have both impressed me so far this season. Smith has finally shaken off the ankle injury that dogged him all last season and his performances on the field prove it. He was rightly so named man on the match on our site poll for the Doncaster trip and when we get Terry O back fit we'll be looking pretty good in the prop department.

For me it's imperative that we send out a message to our rivals this year and give the Giants an good spanking. We've got Hull, Saints, Leeds and Bradford to play in April so we've got to rack up the points in March or else we'll be could be faced with one hard slog of a season.

I think the Giants will compete for a while but in the end class will dominate and we'll win comfortably.

Opposition One to Watch

Hefin O'Hare

The winger scored a try in the Giants first league game against Warrington and was top try scorer in the NFP last year with 24.

He also scored a try when the Giants last visited the JJB back in 2001.

Team News
Wigan Huddersfield
Andy Farrell, Terry O'Connor and Mick Cassidy are all out of the game and Paul Johnson is still suspended. Ricky Bibey returns to the squad after a two match absence with a broken finger. Darren Fleary and Stanley Gene are out suspended so 20 year old Alex Wilkinson should debut. Jeff Wittenberg could return but he faces a late fitness test.
Match Referee
Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)
Pre Match Quotes
Wigan Huddersfield
"Huddersfield are going to be a different kettle of fish (than Doncaster). No disrespect to Doncaster, but we are playing Super League opponents this week that are just back up and desperate for their first win." Coach Stuart Raper.
"I will go to Wigan and do everything within my power to come up with the right combinations across the park to make life as difficult as possible for them. We intend to go there (on friday) night and give it our best shot." Giants coach Tony Smith.
Current League Positions
Pos Team P W D L F A Pts Form
8th Wigan Warriors 1 0 0 1 10 19 -9 L1
9th Huddersfield Giants 1 0 0 1 8 20 -12 L1
Opposition Form (Last 6)
Date Opposition Competition Result Score
22/02/03 Warrington (H) Super League Lost 8-20
08/02/03 Hunslet (A) Challenge Cup 4 Lost 14-18
31/01/03 Leeds (H) Friendly Lost 10-40
12/01/03 Batley (H) Friendly Won 50-10
12/10/02 Leigh (N) NFP Grand Final Won 38-16
22/09/02 Leigh (H) NFP Play Offs Won 36-10

Wigan Form (Last 6 all comps most recent game first): WLWLLW

Previous Super League Meetings in Wigan
Date Result Match Report


22nd May 1998 Wigan 46 Huddersfield 0 Click Here 8966
16th May 1999 Wigan 36 Huddersfield 2 Click Here 6634
30th July 2000 Wigan 68 Hudds/Sheff 6 Click Here 7216
20th April 2001 Wigan 37 Huddersfield 8 Click Here 7772

SL Record at JJB/Central Park: Wigan 4 Huddersfield 0 
Overall Super League Record: Wigan 8 Huddersfield 0 

Matchday Weather

From weather.co.uk.

Possible showers but quite Mild.
Wind: Little or no wind.
Temps: Max: 10°C Low: 4°C Expected at Kick Off: 6°C

Ticket & Ground Details
North Stand (Visitors): Adults: £12.00 Under 18 yrs: £8.00 Senior Citizens: £8.00
West Stand: Adults: £16.00 No Concessions.
East Stand: Adults: £14.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £10
South Stand: Adults: £12.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £8.00
Click for JJB Stadium Ground Guide.
Media Coverage
TV: No TV Coverage    
Radio: 95.1FM BBC GMR will have match commentary from Jack Dearden during Friday Sport with Richard Morris.
Internet: No Online Coverage.
Opposition Views
Giantsrl.com - Official Site
Fartowners.co.uk - Huddersfield RLFans.com site.
Giants Message Board
Comfortable win by about 20-30 points.
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