We all know what this current play off system is like. The regular
season doesn't matter and it's all about doing the business when
the time is right. Wigan did that in great style here to beat
league leaders Huddersfield and earn a home play off in two weeks
time at the DW, which leaves us just 80 minutes away from the Grand
Ironically we find ourselves in the same position as last
year, after we'd finished first, but this win should help us a lot
more than the long forgotten 44-4 walkover of Catalan did 12 months
For me, we won this in the coaches box. Very astute from Shaun
Wane. I said at half time on the radio that what Wigan needed to do
to win this game was a deal with Eorl Crabtree's return and his
decision to bring on both Scott Taylor and Lee Mossop at that
point, to stifle his return, worked a treat.
I've seen it before from Huddersfield. They can falter when
Crabtree leaves the field and this is exactly what happened in this
match. It had been a tight first 20 minutes with Huddersfield
leading 6-0 when Crabtree left the field and from that moment on
this was Wigan's game.
You could just see our pack start to dominate and Huddersfield's
players begin to get rattle. Danny Brough in particular lost his
way and without him to lead, the Giants just withered away.
Things did look ominous for Wigan early on though. After
receiving a penalty following a high tackle shot from Andy Powell,
they then forced the first two of an amazing thirteen drop outs
that the two sides would make between them during this game.
Following the second drop out, Brough gave the home side the
lead with a great solo try. Great step then a missed tackle from
Mike McIlorum got him through and another step beat Sam Tomkins.
All class and quality to go under the sticks, easy conversion for
him made it 6-0.
I'm sure a few hearts from the Wigan fans fell flat at this
ominous start, but reality was Wigan hadn't touched the football
until the seventh minute. Once we got some possession the signs of
a good night became apparent quickly.
Much, much better in attack. Sharper, faster, more slick.
Something we haven't seen for quite a while.
Wigan had a good spell around the 10 to 15 minute mark. Sadly
one set saw a poor kick by Blake Green go dead but a drop out was
forced soon after, however a poor forward pass was thrown by
Then perhaps came a big moment in the 16th minute. Brett Ferres
chimed at the line but Wigan managed to hold him back just short
for the NO TRY to flash on the screen after video ref Steve Ganson
had checked it.
Crabtree then left the field and although Wigan had a set to
defend on their own line, after a sloppy pass from McIlorum, they
soon went up the other end to level the scores.
Charnley got the ball on the less, stood up Scott Grix, then
burst his pace to slide in the corner. In doing so he became the
first player in the summer era to score 40 tries in a season and
the first to score 40+ in a season for Wigan since Martin Offiah in
It's an elite list Charnley joins with only Gordon Ratcliffe,
Brian Nordgren, Billy Boston, Trevor Lake, Bill Francis, Ellery
Hanley, Shaun Edwards and Martin Offiah having scored 40+ in a
season since World War II (1945).
Brilliant touchline conversion from Pat Richards made it 6-6
before a Huddersfield error on the kick off allowed him to kick a
penalty goal from half way to give us an 8-6 lead.
Have to say I feel the ruling which allowed Blake Green's
"error" to be rewarded with a penalty on half way is a poor one. I
never knew you only had to touch the ball when doing the one foot
out of play to make it go out on the full. I always assumed you had
to catch it full with the foot planted, but seems not. Green got
away with basically knocking it on. Touching it was enough. I was
amused to hear Phil Bentham telling Huddersfield players he'd
"supply them with a rule book" about that but to be fair I'm not
sure many will have known that.
Anyway Wigan led and with about ten minutes to half time we were
looking in control. That said Huddersfield went into half time
level. An obstruction call on a "free play" was given and Brough
kicked a penalty from long range to make it 8 all. Overall, a fair
reflection on what had been seen.
Second half again started tight but Wigan just looked like they
had that little bit more. That said had Huddersfield took the lead
before Crabtree returned it might well have been a different story,
but instead Wigan had a great spell of creating back to back drop
outs then pounced.
Ball went right and Sam Tomkins sent Charnley over in the
corner. Another big Richards touchline conversion made it 14-8.
Like I said, dealing with Crabtree's return was all Wigan had to
do now and they did that to perfection. He made zero impact and
Wigan just ground the Giants down. A drop goal from Matty Smith on
65 minutes made it 15-8 then four minutes later Blake Green scored
a fantastic solo try to wrap up the win. Smith kicking another drop
goal on the hooter rubbed salt into the Huddersfield wounds.
Job done for Wigan and from fear last week to feeling great and
optimistic now that the double is on. What a difference 80 minutes