Well this was a spirited performance from a young Wigan side
against an experienced Huddersfield outfit, but you wonder why they
bothered. Can't fault the cause of a testimonial for Sean
O'Loughlin, but the man himself played about 25 minutes of the game
with the majority of the match featuring our Under 20s. Can't help
feeling a bit short changed, even though it was a decent game of
Wigan kicked off with experience from the likes of
Thomas Leulaui, Gareth Hock, Chris Tuson and O'Loughlin himself but
that didn't last long. It did contribute to a good start from Wigan
though with a early try from Anthony Gelling. He crashed over from
close range in the right corner but Jack Murphy couldn't convert -
so the score was left at 4-0.
Huddersfield hit back on 13 minutes when Danny Brough scored
from his own kick. He put in a chip kick towards the posts, but
Wigan flapped in defending it and Brough touched down for a score
which left an easy conversion - 6-4 Giants.
Wigan had a good
spell following that score, in which they scored twice. First
Leuluai put in a kick that allowed Jack Hughes to send Gareth Hock
over, then good hands out to the left allowed John O'Donnell
squeeze in the corner. Murphy couldn't convert either of those
scores, so it was just 12-6 to the home side.
By now the likes of
Leuluai, Hock and O'Loughlin had departed and it was pretty much a
Wigan Under 20s v Huddersfield First Team contest for the rest of
the game. Certainly Scott Grix, Jermaine McGillvray, Leroy Cudjoe,
Lee Gilmour, Danny Brough and Eorl Crabtree remained out their for
the majority of the time that remained.
With that in mind, it was
no surprise to see the visitors take control of the result, but
it's credit to our young lads that we never collapsed to a heavy
Huddersfield scored twice to take a half time lead with
both Greg Eden and Eorl Crabtree claiming close range efforts.
Brough converted both to make it 18-12 with missed conversions
being the only difference.
Wigan started the second half strongly
with Jack Hughes going close but knocking on with the line at his
mercy. Another good move opened Huddersfield's right hand defence
up but they recovered well to get us into touch.
just had a bit more strength in the pack by now and this led to
them scoring again. After forcing a drop out, Shaun Lunt went over
from close range just as a massive hailstorm hit the DW Stadium. It
was close to the posts, so another easy kick for Brough made it
24-12 to them.
Wigan kept digging away but it was hard to compete
against the more experienced pack. A massive cheer came on 67
minutes when Kris Radlinski returned to the DW Stadium field for
the first time since 14th July 2006 in a match against Salford.
Captain O'Loughlin also returned for the final moments of the game
and this led to Wigan claiming a score on 72 minutes.
A kick went
in and Radlinski went chasing for a dream return try but it was
prop Tom Spencer
who won the race to touch down close to the posts. Close enough for
Murphy to claim his first conversion of the evening - 24-18 to
Grandstand finish was perhaps on but sadly for us,
Huddersfield sealed the result pretty soon after with Jacob
Fairbank finishing a long range move. A fifth easy conversion for
Brough completing the nights scoring at Wigan 18 Huddersfield 30.
On the evidence of this display, the visitors will need to play a
hell of a lot better to trouble us when we meet in the league on
February 5th. They certainly continued to look a one man team in
Danny Brough and for long periods they struggled to open up what
was effectively our reserve side. Pre season can give confused
messages though - only time will tell!
For Wigan it was a good
run out from the youngsters but not sure we learned much from this
display. I'm intrigued as to how these lads will get on against
Leigh's first team though. That should be a cracker a week