Due to ongoing Covid complications, it was decided three days before to
extend the play offs to six teams whilst ending the regular season two
games earlier than planned. With Wigan having a game in hand on both St
Helens and Warrington, they were given this opportunity to clinch the
League Leaders Shield for the first time in eight years since 2012.
The match though was a bit after the lord mayors show. Having built up
to the derby victory last week, Wigan had been expecting to play both
Huddersfield and Leeds this weekend and then Hull next weekend before
the play offs began. Instead the change of plan, just two days before
the match had been due to play, saw this match pushed back 24 hours with
extra importance added in.
That perhaps all
contributed to what was a very flat spectacle produced by Wigan. They
were getting down the field find but once on the try line they often
flattered to deceive and often ending up on the last tackle with no idea
what to do with it.
An early Sam Powell barge over
(did he get it down?) saw Wigan take a 5th Minute 6-0 lead and you
wondered whether an easy night was on the cards but it didn't work out
Huddersfield showed plenty of effort in
defence all evening but in truth they barely produced anything in
attack. They did manage a try three minutes before half time but that
was off the back of a Bevan French error and Sam Wood took advantage to
score with Aidan Sezer converting for 6-6 at half time.
The match continued to plod along with very little happening but Wigan,
or in particular Jackson Hastings, stepped up half a gear to get Wigan
over the line.
First he threw a dummy and went himself
to score near the posts before a deft kick to the right allowed Zak
Hardaker to score. Hardaker converting for 18-6 and within 3 minutes and
7 seconds Wigan had got the job done with zero evidence Huddersfield
could show anything like a fightback.
nailed a drop goal with 4 minutes remaining for 19-6 and that sealed the
league leaders shield. Ultimately though this was a very forgettable
Wigan though more than deserved this league leaders shield. Whilst the cup performance against Leeds left many doubts, in the league Wigan produced excellent performances against Catalan, Warrington and St Helens to highlight that. All about the play offs now though.