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Match Report: Wigan 26 Huddersfield 19
Posted by Bilko on April 22 2016 - 00:09

Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants - First Utility Super League 21 - Round 12
Thursday 21st April 2016. Kick Off 8:00pm at DW Stadium.

Match Report

This was almost a carbon copy of last weeks game against Castleford. The attack clunked for long periods but resilience is high and they found a way to win it in the end.

I find the resilience aspect really pleasing. I make it five games now Wigan have won this year despite having trailed at some point in the final twenty minutes. They also won the match against Salford late from a scores level position.

That shows plenty of bottle and this strength could be the difference to winning trophies compared to the last couple of years. A bit of maturity from experience brewing in our youthful squad?

Wigan know they have seven massive players they can recall as well, so to go top of the table without that lot is a great achievement, even if it is only for 24 hours.

The attack still grinds the heart of me though if I'm honest. It's so frustrating because their are many aspects of Wigan's play that please me. Defence is great, apart from a couple of youthful missed tackles in this game but that is a learning curve in my view, whilst the pack effort is good also. Lee Mossop and Taulima Tautai are performing better this year I think whilst Greg Burke is putting in some great shifts every week.

But once Wigan get down to the try line the attack just stutters. I felt in this game that Dan Sarginsons passing was too wayward and that wasted potential overlaps. His link play isn't hitting the mark either. I mean I punched the desk in front of me when he gave that offload away at 19-18 up late in the game. Should of been a simple pass and he delayed ten minutes before passing when it should never have been.

Sam Powell has been guilty of some low passes from dummy half also in the last fortnight but I've some sympathy for him. He's put in some mightily long stints these last few weeks and I think he's gasping for a breather. I've certainly been one in the past suggesting Micky McIlorum could do 80 minutes in big games but it's tough to do every week. We simply haven't had options to help Powell but I wonder if Sean O'Loughlin can be used in that capacity next week, if he returns as hinted at by Shaun Wane after this game?

I thought in the match itself that the attack actually started really well. They were sharp from the off even if it took an offload by Josh Charnley and a scrappy nudge kick forward by Anthony Gelling for him to get over the line. It was important to convert territory into a score and Matty Smith's conversion made it 6-0.

Huddersfield had started like a side that was holding a white flag of surrender, Wigan looking ominous to stretch out to 10-0 at least, but once the Giants found a try from deep to respond they settled down into the game.

Nice break from Leroy Cudjoe and Ryan Brierley was in excellent support to finish under the sticks. I said on twitter that I thought Nick Gregson had a good game here but replies came in that suggested his defence was a bit suspect. It certainly was for this score because Cudjoe swatted his attempted tackle off far too easily. Weak to say the least.

But he's a young kid and I felt that Cudjoe and Jermaine McGillvary smelt a little bit of blood against Gregson, Oliver Gildart and Lewis Tierney on that side but in the main they muscled up to do a pretty decent job in the rest of the game, especially considering the vast difference in experience. I remember one text book tackle from Gildart in particular.

So, Brough had converted and it was now 6-6 and from that the Giants grew and Wigan's early good signs of attack began to revert to the type we've seen most of the season so far.

In fact the Giants took the lead before half time with a quality reverse kick from Brough being finished by Brierley under the posts. Easy conversion put them 12-6 in front.

Now Paul Anderson has screamed after the game at what he perceived to be a change of refereeing style at half time but I'd perhaps question if they were too negative? The Giants were now playing well but rather than go for further tries, Brough twice attempted drop goals. One hit the post before half time and another early second half was blocked by Tony Clubb. Shaun Wane suggested one Wigan eventually kicked was too soon but these attempts were even earlier than ours.

I do have sympathy that the two sin binnings that would follow were tough for his side's effort in this game but the decisions were not wrong. I did think that referee Joe Cobb was pretty quick to give a team warning if I'm honest but to commit a high tackle and get a yellow card show within eight seconds of the warning must be a world record like Dean Hatton's fastest try world record for Wigan St Pats.

Straight after that yellow, Wigan got level with John Bateman scoring a soft close range try and Smith converting for 12-12.

The next set option from Wigan grated me though. We had got level and the Giants were a man down but Smith on the last and only 40 out puts in a drilled kick that doesn't even find touch in the field of play and trickles dead for a 20 metre restart. I didn't understand the negativity of that play and quite honestly I felt it deserved to be punished when the Giants scored a great try moments later.

Questionable Wigan defence again on that right edge but also some super passing and eventually Brierley was in for his hat-trick. Brough converted to put them 18-12 up.

You wondered now if Wigan had the strength to come back again but although Huddersfield survived the remaining six minutes of the sin bin, Wigan kept trying and eventually Smith jinked his way through for an excellent try with 13 minutes to go. This was his first try in 26 appearances at DW Stadium since the 2014 play off against Huddersfield. He also converted to level up at 18-18.

I've often talked about game management this season but I wonder if Wigan have finally learned the lesson that saw them fail at Old Trafford last October. We built up to a drop goal superbly with direct play up the middle and Lee Mossop in particular put in two excellent drives. Smith slotted one over on 70 minutes to equal Andy Farrell's club record of 19 for the club.

Then Huddersfield got a second yellow card after Aaron Murphy was guilty of holding down after a good Wigan break by Gelling. Clear decision but just when you felt that would be enough to put Huddersfield to bed they got up the other end to find a levelling drop goal from Brough for 19-19. Sarginson gifting them possession with an offload was shocking in the circumstances of the match.

Still six minutes remained and Wigan kept their composure, just like away at Hull, to set up for another one pointer with three minutes remaining. That saw Smith now set a new club record for drop goals with his 20th one pointer in 137 appearances.

Had Wigan held on to this 20-19 lead then we would have been surely the first side in history to have gone top of the league table with a negative points difference but alas that wasn't to be the case.

Despite Gelling letting the ball bounce on the inevitable short kick off, we managed to get possession and found a try to seal the game. Sarginson finished after good initial work by Gelling and Charnley. Smith converted to wrap up a 26-19 win that sent Wigan top of the table for 24 hours at least.

Huddersfield's effort deserved better than defeat but if that is a bottom of the table side then Super League is getting stronger. In fact bottom of the table has scored more points in attack than top of the table. Again, I do wonder if this is a first in the history of sport. It's bizarre and almost incomprehensible that Wigan keep find ways to win with this attack but with the potential of Sam Tomkins, George Williams and Dom Manfredi back in the next fortnight then hopefully we will begin to hit the higher notes. We shall see.

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Huddersfield 1
4 Dan Sarginson Full Back Ryan Brierley 34
2 Josh Charnley

Right Wing

Jermaine McGillvary 2
3 Anthony Gelling Centre Leroy Cudjoe 3
20 Oliver Gildart Centre Jake Connor 18
22 Lewis Tierney Left Wing Aaron Murphy 5
27 Nick Gregson Stand Off Danny Brough 6
7 Matty Smith Scrum Half Kyle Wood 15
17 Lee Mossop Prop Josh Johnson 19
16 Sam Powell Hooker Ryan Hinchcliffe 9

Ben Flower


Craig Huby

14 John Bateman 2nd Row Joe Wardle 4
25 Willie Isa 2nd Row Ukuma Ta'ai 17

Ryan Sutton


Michael Lawrence

15 Tony Clubb Substitute Sam Rapira 16
19 Taulima Tautai Substitute Kruise Leeming 20
26 Greg Burke Substitute Nathan Mason 21
34 Jack Wells Substitute Oliver Roberts 22
- Shaun Wane Coach Paul Anderson -

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 26


Huddersfield Giants 19

Tries (4):
Anthony Gelling
John Bateman
Matty Smith
Dan Sarginson


Tries (3):
Ryan Brierley 3

Matty Smith 4/4
--- Goals:
Danny Brough 3/3
Drop Goals:
Matty Smith 2
--- Drop Goals:
Danny Brough 1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

04mins:46 Wigan 04 Huddersfield 00

Try: Anthony Gelling

Wigan 06 Huddersfield 00 Conversion: Matty Smith (1/1)
12mins:46 Wigan 06 Huddersfield 04 Try: Ryan Brierley
Wigan 06 Huddersfield 06 Conversion: Danny Brough (1/1)
32mins:41 Wigan 06 Huddersfield 10 Try: Ryan Brierley (2)
Wigan 06 Huddersfield 12 Conversion: Danny Brough (2/2)
Half Time Wigan Warriors 06 Huddersfield Giants 12
54mins:28 Huddersfield Sin Bin Nathan Mason (Foul after Warning)
54mins:54 Wigan 10 Huddersfield 12

Try: John Bateman

Wigan 12 Huddersfield 12 Conversion: Matty Smith (2/2)
58mins:55 Wigan 10 Huddersfield 16 Try: Ryan Brierley (Hat-Trick)
Wigan 12 Huddersfield 18 Conversion: Danny Brough (3/3)
67mins:45 Wigan 16 Huddersfield 18

Try: Matty Smith

Wigan 18 Huddersfield 18 Conversion: Matty Smith (3/3)
70mins:22 Wigan 19 Huddersfield 18

Drop Goal: Matty Smith

71mins:36 Huddersfield Sin Bin Aaron Murphy (Professional Foul)
73mins:59 Wigan 19 Huddersfield 19 Drop Goal: Danny Brough
77mins:38 Wigan 20 Huddersfield 19

Drop Goal: Matty Smith (2)

78mins:50 Wigan 24 Huddersfield 19

Try: Dan Sarginson

Wigan 26 Huddersfield 19 Conversion: Matty Smith (4/4)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 26 Huddersfield Giants 19


Joe Cobb

Penalties Conceded

Wigan 5 Huddersfield 10

Match Attendance



Dry Night but got blustery second half.

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