Whilst obviously being disappointed with the loss, I think this was
one in which you just had to credit the immense defence displayed
Looking back at my in game tweets, in the last 15 minutes those
tweets included "Hudds Survive", "Wigan Force Drop", "Hudds survive
another Wigan assault", "Greg Burke a bugs dick short", "another
Huddersfield drop out", "Wigan all over Hudds", "drop out with 26
That was 15 minutes of constant pressure that 95% of the time
would have been enough to score two or three tries, let alone the
one try we needed to get at least a draw out of this performance.
Ok you can look at that and say Wigan lacked the class to get
over the line but my personal view is that you have to credit the
oppositions effort. The only criticism I have on Wigan is that I
think Matty Smith blew a three on one overlap going right with a
minute to go, but overall I was quite happy with the effort and I
think the little reality check will do us good going forward.
If anything this game was lost on the interchange bench. I
talked about Eorl Crabtree's impact in my match preview and it was
proven here. He was left on the bench and didn't appear until the
20th minute. In his absence Wigan were killing the Giants with a
10-0 lead very much deserved. But once he and Shaun Lunt came on,
the pack battle evened out and the clean breaks that Wigan had
enjoyed early began to disappear.
Also another big factor was Anthony Gelling's injury suffered in
the 22nd Minute, just as Huddersfield got back to 10-6. With Sam
Tomkins absent due to a shoulder injury, coach Shaun Wane had
switched Josh Charnley to full back and started Gelling in his wing
position, and for me it was working well early doors. But Gelling's
departure saw Sam Powell come on at full back with Charnley
switching back to the wing.
Then later in the game, when Mike McIlorum was substituted at
half time, we were switched further with Powell moving to Hooker,
Charnley going back to Full Back, Jack Hughes changing from Second
Row to Right Centre and Darrell Goulding from Right Centre to Wing.
If that was tactical, for me it was an error on the part of coach
Wane. It was far too much switching around for one substitution in
If it was forced then so be it, these things happen, but I felt
it just stifled and disrupted our rhythm during the middle part of
the contest. I think it takes a while for players to re-adjust when
changing roles during a match and more often than not it seems to
fail. I think it also highlighted that we are not well covered in
the backs in terms of utility value and its contributes to why we
need to be cautious with our optimism this season.
Anyway back to the start of the match and Wigan made a whirlwind
start with the in red hot form Liam Farrell at the heart of it. He
scored the games opening try in the 9th minute, taking Blake
Green's pass to crash through a poor missed tackle from Luke
Robinson. We all saw that move against Warrington last weekend and
it was repeated here, with Ginger keeping up his try a game pace
this season. Richards converted for 6-0.
Then Ginger made the break, on the next set, for our
second try. Sean O'Loughlin and Matty Smith combined before Green's
pass got Farrell away from sixty metres out. He was guilty of
completely mis-timing his pass on occasions last season but he got
it right this time, with the supporting Charnley out pacing Simon
Grix for a left corner try. Charnley also kept up his try a game
pace this year, adding to his impressive Wigan career record - 67
tries in 69 matches. Pat failed to convert but 15 minutes in, we
were full value for 10-0.
But then on the 20 minute mark came those Huddersfield
interchanges of Lunt and Crabtree and they quickly scored in the
right corner from Jermaine McGillvary. Now it has to be pointed out
that whilst overall our defence has been of good standard this
season, we are looking mightily weak on our left side defended by
Iain Thornley and Pat Richards. That is a concern at the moment.
It was also a poor attempt by the covering Charnley I felt for that
score. Danny Brough converted for 10-6.
Gelling then departed with those positional changes I
mentioned, but despite that nothing really happened up until the
break, with that score carrying all the way.
Then into the second half we saw those extra
positional changes with McIlorum going off and Huddersfield were
now on top. We'd had a warning with a huge bust up the gut by the
Giants being wasted, but they took the lead on 48 minutes with a
soft try by Jamie Cording being scored near the posts. Brough
converted for 12-10. Disappointing defence again for that,
but I don't want that to come across like it was poor all game
because it wasn't.
A few minutes later Gil Dudson was put on report for
allegedly stamping on an opponent. Can't really comment on it
myself, but what was surprising was that it was the in goal judge
that ran on to the field to report it. I've never seen them get
involved in non in goal area stuff ever, so that was a surprise.
We'll have to see what the video makes of that one. Soon after
Huddersfield kicked a penalty goal for 14-10 from an unrelated
Following that Huddersfield went looking for the try
to kill the game. You knew watching that Wigan would not be coming
back from a two score deficit, so it was a massive defensive stand
from us at this point to keep us in the game.
After that it was all Wigan. I note a tweet of mine
that read that "Wigan need a bit of magic from somewhere" and that
summed up the final minutes of the game. That was to Huddersfield's
credit. McIlorum did return for Powell, but sadly we didn't find
it. In fact the home side claimed a further penalty goal during a
brief respite on 71 minutes for 16-10.
I've already mentioned the pressure Wigan put on late
and it was apparently ten sets that Huddersfield saw out in all,
but ironically it was them that scored a further try. It came with
seconds left as they intercepted the full length whilst Wigan were
throwing the ball around as the clock was ticking. Brett Ferres'
try was deserved for them soaking up all our pressure. Got to
credit McIlorum and Thornley's chasing back for that. The game was
done but they still fought to stop that long break. Brough
converted to complete a 22-10 Giants win, but I don't think many
would have said a Wigan draw would have been undeserved. It was a
great game overall and whilst we didn't get the two points, I think
their are some good lessons for the Wigan lads to learn from this
game. Let's hope they carry that forward!