Wigan produced a classy second half performance to romp home in
this 1st v 2nd clash at Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium. It was a
result that meant we will be at least a point clear top of the
table ahead of next week's Magic Weekend.
We all left
Huddersfield with a big concern though and that was the standard of goal
kicking after we failed to convert each of first four tries on the
night and five out of the seven in total. Thankfully those misses
didn't cost us this match but you sense it is going to cost us a
result sooner rather than later. Cold facts are that with Pat
kicking our success rate was 85.4%. A combination of Josh Charnley
and Sam Tomkins this year are kicking at just 59.7%. The worst team
overall is Salford on 65.4%, so those are cold hard facts about our
current standard following this display.
Luckily perhaps in this
game, Huddersfield never got ahead enough to make us really
sweat on those missed kicks. We eventually ground them down in the
pack I think. I particularly though that once Eorl Crabtree went
off after 28 minutes they began to drop off in intensity, whereas
we had the luxury of arguably our best prop, Jeff Lima, coming on
off the bench.
Wigan's pack depth came to fore again here. 21
year old "Henderson" Gil Dudson seamlessly came in to start in cover
for Paul Prescott's absence whilst Dom Crosby, also 21, went on the bench in
place of Eric Lauaki. Darrell Goulding returned at right centre for
Jack Hughes and Anthony Gelling continued on the left wing for Pat
I thought this was a good arm wrestle early on.
Huddersfield were competing well in the pack with impetus from
Crabtree, and also David Fa'alogo. They had some early
opportunities out wide attacking our right.
They almost scored in
the first minute after Brough's kick over the top had caused havoc.
Wasn't that good of an effort really but the ball fell kindly for
Huddersfield and Leroy Cudjoe really should of sent Jermaine
McGillvary in the corner, but they bombed the opportunity.
also had an excellent first set with a Tommy Leuluai grubber
helping Brett Finch to trap Greg Eden in goal and force a drop out.
Unfortunately on the second repeat set Tommy's last tackle bomb
towards Gelling was dreadful.
The game went tight for a few
minutes before Wigan forced a second goal line drop out on 9
minutes. Again a Leuluai kick saw Eden trapped in goal but sadly
Finch was ruled to have knocked on trying to take the drop out in.
Fast paced start continued with Huddersfield attacking Gelling's
defensive wing again a minute later. Eden hit McGillvary with a
lovely pass but he was heading in touch. He did manage to flick the
ball back and Gareth Hock had no choice but to force the ball out
into touch. Just about survived that one.
Hardly a second to
breath between the two sides and that probably led to the home
sides decision to go for goal when getting a penalty on 13 minutes.
It was 43 metres out but that didn't stop Brough attempting the
Brough missed but they soon claimed the games opening score
from the 20 metre drop out. Again they attack down the right
towards Gelling's defensive wing. Quick work by Luke Robinson at
dummy half saw a quick exchange with Cudjoe and then to McGillvary,
allowing the latter to slide over in the corner. Brough then
converted for a 6-0 lead.
They probably just about deserved that
Huddersfield but Wigan got back into the contest within five
minutes. Offside penalty helped us down field and it was the
familiar passing routine that got us in. McIlorum darts towards the
right from dummy half then its Leuluai, Sam and Fuzzy Goulding
combining to get Josh in the corner. Easy overlap. Conversion
missed though so the Giants still led 6-4 after 20 minutes.
Clearly this season it is Wigan's bench that is most impressive for
me. We don't seem to drop off in intensity when the interchanges
happen, but our opponents are doing. I talked about Crabtree going
off, but after 16 minutes Fa'alogo also went off to be replaced by
Dale Ferguson and it just gradually began to see us get on top in
A second Wigan try perhaps should of come on 24
minutes. Huddersfield got into a mess on a last tackle and Gelling
scooped on a loose ball from sixty metres out. He was caught in two
minds at what to do and in the end his indecision saw him take
himself into touch. A bad error of judgement but I have to say I
was thoroughly disgusted at some terrace members getting on the
lads back during this game and already writing him off. They are
probably the same fans who were writing Wane off after the Widnes
debacle. I mean the lad was making his sixth appearance of his
entire top grade career and what I'm seeing is a lad trying his
heart out and he's inches away at times from being spot on but at
times inexperience gets the better of him. Seriously give the lad a
chance to learn from his mistakes. If he doesn't, he obviously
won't prove good enough, but to be on his back so early in his
career is scandalous really. I'd be more worried if the lad was
getting mugged completely in defence and I haven't seen that yet.
By now the rain was getting heavy and Wigan were also beginning to
turn the screw. A third drop out was forced on 29 minutes
after another Leuluai kick was batted dead by Luke George. From
that drop out the Giants were caught out a bit after David Faiumu
was forced off the field after being legally smashed by Lima. Our
third try quickly followed with another sweeping attack towards the
right wing. McIlorum, Finch and Leuluai combine before Sam leaves
Scott Grix flat-footed with a lovely jinking step. He slides in the
corner but Josh misses his extras again - 8-6 though Wigan lead.
I went off for a half time pint at this point but could see from
the concourse that it was all Wigan in the minutes up to half time.
Excellent late tackle kicking from Wigan again as this time Finch
puts a bomb up for Gelling that got McGillvary flapping into
conceding a fourth drop out. Or perhaps not! On further video
referee inspection, Cudjoe had clearly took out Gelling off the
ball and Wigan got a penalty. We didn't score from that but it all
helped us keep the territory that got Josh over for his second on
39 minutes. Attacking down the right side once again and it was the
same routine as well. McIlorum, Finch, O'Loughlin, Goulding then
Josh in the corner. Lovely offload by the way here from Fuzzy to
get him in.
I remind myself of the Sky Sports Online "Super
League - Back Chat" programme the other week in which journalists
Chris Irvine and Andy Wilson talked Luke George up to the nines as
a England wing candidate. Ryan Hall and Tom Briscoe were also hyped
up but our Josh didn't even get a passing reference, which I noted
on twitter at the time was frankly laughable. Well George, god's
gift to England, wasn't being caught out in defence for the third
time in this contest and our Josh is clearly worse than Richard
Mathers and Ricky Bibey combined. I mean for a player that is seven
clear top try scorer in Super League, with a Challenge Cup winners
medal in his back pocket, he lacks pace doesn't he and has zero
ability to mug any defender - even Slug Wellens can catch him. Josh
will be signing for Widnes before we know it. And if you can't spot
the sarcasm in those last few sentences then you need to check out
the word "idiot" in the dictionary.
What isn't god's gift to
England is Josh's' goal kicking in this game because he failed to
convert for a third time - meaning Wigan's lead was just 12-6 at
Into the second half and Huddersfield began strongly
after the restart. They forced a drop out themselves on 46 minutes,
which eventually led to a soft try being scored by Eden under the
posts. Easy conversion made it 12-12. You began to think at this
point whether the missed conversions would end up costing us, but
Wigan re-took the lead within two minutes and never looked back
Eden went from hero to zero after another Wigan kick
caused problems for the Giants defence. Shouldn't have been a big
surprise to Nathan Brown because Eden went into this game with a
league worst tally of 30 errors, with the second worst (Scott
Dureau) only on 22. Finch did a bomb over the top, Eden flapped
like he had a blind fold on and it fell easily for Carmont who
scored a simple effort. Josh though failed to convert again - GO TO
YOUR ROOM JOSHUA!
Four tries to two but only 16-12 to show for
it was damn annoying. However, to back that try up with another on
the restart was massive in the end context of the game. I talked
about the bench effort of Lima but we also had the efforts of
Ginger Farrell who claimed our fifth try. Farrell shrugged off wet
lettuce defending from Kevin Brown and powered over from 10 out.
Sam Tomkins by now had took over kicking and converted this for
We had now found the roll on and should of added another
score on the next restart. Farrell again did damage with a forty
metre bust right up the gut of the Giants defence. Kudos Ginger's
lovely jink to mug passed Eden on that break by the way! Defence
never recovered and quick hands should have seen Gelling get over
in the corner, but he knocked on a simple pass and you can't really
excuse that one.
Luckily for him perhaps it didn't matter
because we were in a minute later anyway. Fantastic passing again
here. Attacking the left this time, McIlorum, Tommy, Finch and Hock
were all involved to get Carmont over for his second. Sam couldn't
convert this but it was now 26-12 and to be honest the game always
looked dusted at this point, even though 22 minutes remained.
only fear was the clock but we saw it out with relative ease. The
home side just got more and more desperate. Apart from the early
damage done down their right wing, they struggled in most parts of
this game to do any damage at all to us out wide. Luke George was
anonymous really. Wigan managed to add a cherry on top of the cake
try late on with Lima scoring from close range. Sam converting to
complete an excellent 32-12 win.
When you think about it though,
five missed conversions could of made it 42-12, then you could add
in two bombed chances by Gelling and this could of been 50+ against
second placed Huddersfield who didn't actually play that bad. I
dread to think what damage Pat would of caused with both boot and
All that really leaves me very excited about the rest of
this season. We have a far more dominating pack I think this season
and the experienced Finch and Leuluai in the halves are now having
a field day off the back of that. That's before I even mention the
class out wide that Charnley, Carmont and Sam Tomkins help provide.
We also had the luxury of a quality kicking game to boot in this
game. Tommy and Finchy were excellent with those four first half
drop outs highlighting that. Mix all that together and we look
pretty unstoppable if the squad can remain pretty healthy.
now left thinking that Saints, Leeds and Catalan will all be seen
off and we will be well pretty at the top of the table after that.
I'm certain that it'll take a hell of a performance to stop us in
current form, even with our goal kicking worries. Let's see what a
third meeting in eight weeks against St Helens brings next weekend.