Well I know their was little
to play for this afternoon for Wigan but that performance mugged
the huge Wigan following that travelled over today. It was a
pretty packed "Pink Link" away stand that witnessed a non arsed
Every bit of poor play in the book was displayed by
Wigan. Incomplete sets, penalties conceded, rubbish execution,
terrible defence, forward passes, kick offs out on the full,
passes intercepted - you name it Wigan did it today. Huddersfield
were classy in executing in attack but they really didn't have to
work hard because Wigan kept gifting them the territory.
We also lacked direction in the absence of Sam Tomkins (ankle
injury) and also Mark Riddell who had returned home on
compassionate grounds.. Sean O'Loughlin started at stand off with
Mike McIlorum replacing Riddell and Mark Flanagan playing at Loose
Forward. Huddersfield also had absences with Keith Mason and Scott
Moore being stood down for an alleged breach of club discipline.
The home side took the lead on 8 minutes with a classy try from
Brett Hodgson after Mike McIlorum was penalised for holding down. I've been saying on the message board he should be
a shoe in for Man of Steel and he rubber stamped my opinion today
with an outstanding effort. He also kicked the first of 8 goals to
make it 6-0.
Wigan though responded well with a nice try. They had territory
gifted though with Liam Fulton's last tackle kick sailing well out
on the full but nice hands from Thomas Leuluai and Sean O'Loughlin saw Mark Flanagan break the line and dart over for
his first Wigan try. Pat Richards, needing 15 points today to be Super
League's top points scorer for a third consecutive season, missed
The pressure was all Huddersfield's though, helped by a 40/20
from Brett Hodgson on 17 minutes. Luke Robinson went close but was
just short after having his ankles tapped. Although that 40/20
ended up with a knock on by Michael Lawrence,
they would soon get the ball back and force Wigan into making two goal line drop outs in
a row. Richards belted the second drop out 70 metres but David
Hodgson, looking like he was going nowhere on the left wing, broke
out of a pathetic tackle attempt from Amos Roberts and then
sidestepped Cameron Phelps to score on 28 minutes. Roberts should
hang his head in shame for that. Really poor and he knew it.
Hodgson converted to make it 10-4.
More poor tackle attempts followed for the Giants next try
three minutes later. Shaun Lunt darted over from close range but
with three or four men on him he surely would be held up? That'll
be a no then because he somehow grounded and the conversion from
Hodgson made it 18-4. Shocking try to concede that - no way should
he have got close to grounding it.
Wigan at this point made changes. Mike McIlorum had done ok,
playing his first game since July 3rd v Harlequins, but he was now
blowing hard. Karl Pryce came on to play centre with Martin
Gleeson I think moving into the halves and Thomas Leuluai into
It paid immediate dividends with a try on 37 minutes for
Richards. 30 metres out Sean O'Loughlin fired a beautiful long
range pass out wide to send Richards easily racing to the corner.
He also hit an excellent conversion to make it 18-10 at half time.
Quite pleasing at that point considering Wigan had no more than
three attacks and had scored from two of them.
But we started the second half appallingly and Huddersfield
scored three times before Wigan had any kind of meaningful
First Leroy Cudjoe touched down a neat grubber kick, then after
a kick off from Richards sailed out on the full giving Hudds easy
territory, a kick from Hodgson was fumbled by O'Loughlin and
pounced on by Shaun Lunt. Shockingly Richards belted another kick
off out on the full which gave the Giants more easy yardage for
Paul Whatuira to score from. Brett Hodgson converted all three to
take the score to 36-10 and game over.
So with the two drop outs in a row first half and two kick offs
out on the full second half, Huddersfield had a combined spell of
about twenty minutes of ball without Wigan getting a touch. During
that time they scored five tries with most of the damage coming
from attacking kicks either to force the drop outs or to score the
tries. This is something Wigan don't do ever. Watch the video of
this and compared out last tackle options to theirs! It really
shows us up in that department and for me the lack of a last
tackle kicking game is why keep falling short in semi finals.
Anyway at this point Wigan really did have nothing to play for
and it was looking like Huddersfield could rack up sixty points.
But referee Ian Smith seemed to be feeling sorry for us at this
point - giving us most of the 50/50 decisions. Leroy Cudjoe did
claim a second try on 62 minutes to make it 42-10 before Joel
Tomkins scored a nice try, which, although it was from the
opposite angle, was similar to his Murrayfield Magic effort
earlier in the season. But Wigan summed up their day by finishing
off with an intercept thrown straight to Cudjoe who raced 80
metres to complete his hatrick with four minutes to go.
So a really poor display but I think it may do us good going
into next week to get a bad display out the way. Also I think
playing Castleford is probably better than Catalans although
should we win we will now face a tougher match in Week 2. We
really struggled without Sam Tomkins though and hopefully he will
be back next week.
Positives? Well not many but I it does have to be said that on
the rare occasions we did attack, we generally scored. We got
three tries from possibly six goes at the Giants line? It can't
have been much more than that because we didn't have enough ball.
At the end of the day Leigh would have beaten Wigan today the
way they played. They just didn't want it and Noble admitted it
looked like they were complacent. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come
next week when they play Castleford in the play offs on Sunday