After a frustrating first half, Wigan dominated the second period
to win well in the end at Huddersfield. A big win as well because
it opens up a five point gap inside the top four play off positions
rather than having Huddersfield just one point behind us had they
Also the game being in-between Leeds at Magic and Saints
Away on Friday made it a funny one to encounter and to just get any
old result wouldn't have been bad, but they did it with a bit of
dominance in the end.
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson bemoaned afterwards that his
side probably should have been leading 18-6 at the break, rather
than the score being 12-12, and I wouldn't disagree with that. With
an injury hit side to choose from, he top loaded his experience on
the bench with Luke Robinson, Eorl Crabtree and Ukuma Ta'ai
all on the interchange.
Given that, the Giants tactics looked clear to me. Hang in for
twenty minutes and then try to dominate the second half of the
first half. I thought that plan worked well but it didn't end up
being reflected on the scoreboard.
They had taken the lead with a try from impressive debutant full
back Jared Simpson who took advantage of a poor tackle attempt by
Matty Smith in the fifth minute with Danny Brough converting for
I felt Wigan were always making good metres early on but the
ends to sets were often quite poor. Same move really, Matty Smith
puts a bomb up and Huddersfield easily collect without any pressure
That failure was stopping Wigan getting on the try line but they
did find a try from a break down the left with Liam Farrell finding
a gap and Joe Burgess being in support to make it 6-6 after Matty
Smith converted his finish under the posts.
Interchanges came into affect after that and the home side did
get on top but it was also a period in which the referee James
Child blew for several penalties. This affected Wigan more and it was
no surprise when Joe Wardle scored just before the half hour to put
them 12-6 up.
With half time approaching, I was suggesting on the radio that
Wigan take a 12-6 deficit and wrap up for the break but they only
went and score a leveller. It was vice versa to the first try with
Burgess sending Farrell over for 12-12 with Smith converting.
21 seconds remained as the game restarted from that score and
you think Wigan would know just to see the time out with ease. BUT
NO! They chuck the ball around ten metres from their own line as if
it was 21 seconds from full time and they still needed a score to
win the match. The ball was lost and Huddersfield almost scored on
a free play but Wigan were lucky that the hooter went just before
time off was called for a scrum.
I don't often get annoyed me but that passage of play was a
total nonsense. You surely have to be aware of the situation and
Wigan clearly weren't. I mean its a mad thing to do at any point in
truth but with 20 seconds to go you should be realising what's
Anyway that frustration eliminated second half with a much
improved display. Big difference I thought was that now Wigan were
getting pressure on the end of their last tackle options and three
or four drop outs being forced highlighted that.
Wigan had their first lead of the afternoon within five minutes
of the restart with nice passing between John Bateman and Joel
Tomkins seeing Josh Charnley diving in the right corner. Smith
couldn't convert - 16-12 Wigan.
The pressure continued for the next few minutes and it looked
like Huddersfield would be delighted to have defended that pressure
out. However they got a massive bonus when a loose pass from
Bateman, on a last tackle, went to ground and Danny Brough returned
it 80 metres for a score that put them back in front at 18-16.
What a sucker punch that was but to Wigan's credit it never
affected them. They responded to it within four minutes with Dan
Sarginson winning a cross field kick from Smith and batting it back
for Farrell to claim a gift second. Conversion missed again but it
was now 20-18 to Wigan.
Three minutes after that came a brilliant try from risky play.
Joel Tomkins offloaded underneath his own posts to get Matty Bowen
racing away. He was stopped but got an offload away to keep the
move going with George Williams continuing to run directly down the
middle. Jermaine McGillvary stopped Williams thirty out but
Huddersfield never recovered and good work from Bowen saw Charnley
walk over in the right corner.
Only frustration now was Smith missing three kicks meaning the
lead was still only one score at 24-18 but he kicked a penalty for
26-18 in the 64th Minute and that proved to be enough. Huddersfield
never once threatened a comeback and the victory was sealed with a
John Bateman try seven minutes from time.