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|Saturday 25th June 2011|
|Wigan Warriors 46 Huddersfield Giants 12|
|DW Stadium, Wigan|
|Engage Super League 16 - Round 19 of 27|
Kick Off 5:45pm
|1||Sam Tomkins||T3||1||Scott Grix||G2|
|25||Josh Charnley||T||20||Jermaine McGillvary|
|12||Joel Tomkins||29||Joe Wardle|
|4||George Carmont||T||3||Leroy Cudjoe|
|5||Pat Richards||T||G7||5||David Hodgson||T|
|17||Brett Finch||6||Kevin Brown|
|6||Paul Deacon||9||Luke Robinson|
|15||Jeff Lima||8||Eorl Crabtree|
|7||Thomas Leuluai||T||13||David Faiumu|
|21||Lee Mossop||T||15||Keith Mason|
|11||Harrison Hansen||4||Lee Gilmour|
|16||Ryan Hoffman||37||Dale Ferguson|
|13||Sean O'Loughlin||12||David Fa'alogo|
|9||Michael McIlorum||10||Darrell Griffin|
|10||Andy Coley||14||Shaun Lunt|
|14||Paul Prescott||17||Danny Kirmond||T|
|34||Gareth Hock||18||Larne Patrick|
I think this has been a highly significant weekend in Super League 16 with Warrington knocking off St Helens and us, let's be totally honest, annihilating Huddersfield.
I talked in my match preview about Huddersfield needing to come here, particularly in the adversity of being without Danny Brough, and prove they are worthy challengers for either major trophy this season but they failed to make any impression at all. Kevin Brown was a test half back last year so they tell me and yet in this game he was totally anonymous. Only Luke Robinson looked a threat from them in my eyes but he had hardly any attack to play with.
For Wigan they produced a classy display of pace, power and finesse. We saw some pretty fine tries led by a second hatrick of the season for Sam Tomkins. You know since Brett Finch became a regular starter for us, Sam has crashed over for 16 tries in just 8 matches. That cannot be a coincidence! I mean compare that to earlier in the season when he claimed just 3 tries in his first 10 appearances of the year. It shows that with a good solid half back combination to play with, Sam will feed off that from full back.
The pack though really is where we've done the real damage in the last fortnight. They totally dominated St Helens and did exactly the same to Huddersfield. They've been so good you wonder if Stuart Fielden got fully fit tomorrow, who would he come in for? Last year Fielden and Andy Coley would have been comfortable starting props but for me Coley is perhaps the one sweating over his position and he isn't even playing that bad!
Paul Prescott was outstanding I thought, especially considering he was wearing both Number 14 and Number 11. Well in my eyes anyway as I mistook him for Harrsion Hansen at one point, bloody scrum caps should be banned!. Lee Mossop though is the one who leads the way. What a step up that guy has made to the front row and if he is not on the radar for a test call up in October it is a damn right disgrace! He is a proper consistent performer and that is backed by Wigan fans on our message board who had voted him in our man of the match top five for 14 of his 19 appearances this season. He is joint top of the player of the season leader board (this game not taken into account yet) with Sam Tomkins! That say's a lot!
The early signs from the returning Gareth Hock were good as well. He was obviously blowing heavily but he was hitting the ball up hard and tackling well. All that and Ginger Farrell can't even get in the team at the moment. Pretty strong depth here at Wigan because I've made clear before what a fan I am of the Ginger Pearl!
In the match itself, Wigan were all over Huddersfield straight from the off. It took them just 160 seconds to claim the games first try. Great hands left from forty out - Brett Finch found Sam Tomkins who found George Carmont and he sent Pat Richards charging down the touch line. I think Pat could have steamed in the corner himself but with full back Scott Grix coming across he nailed a beautiful pass back on the inside to send Sam Tomkins under the sticks. Easy conversion 6-0 Wigan.
Huddersfield though hit straight back, taking advantage of a shocking error from Finch who again was guilty of throwing passes to players who are supposed to be the dummy runner! If he attacks like he's done in the last two games though, it's not as big an issue as it was but he needs to quickly learn to cut that out!
The error put Huddersfield inside our 20 metre area cheaply and after forcing a drop out, they managed to get in the left corner with ex Warrior David Hodgson scoring easily. Wigan's defence had struggled to recover after Ryan Hoffman had took a big knock to the head which left his legs wobbling. Next time any tart footballer goes down with soft shite injuries they should be made to watch Hoffman getting up from that knock and still playing on! Still a soft try though, Hoffman's knock wasn't an excuse really. Good sideline conversion from Grix made it 6-6 after just 7 minutes.
Wigan though soon had the lead back after Grix knocked on the restart. Second tackle and Finch sent Sam Tomkins through a gap for his second. Great move. Sam goes on an arching run round the back of two dummy runners and the defence didn't have a clue. Easy Pat conversion again made it 12-6.
As the half wore on it was becoming increasingly apparent again that the opposition were simply not going to score unless we gifted them penalties or made errors. No clean breaks were being made by Huddersfield and our discipline was holding strong at this point in the contest.
Wigan don't need penalties to help them score so the opposition cannot afford to give us errors as well. But it was another error, Kevin Brown throwing a pass into Joe Wardle's face, that set up the territory for our third score. On a day when we witnessed some excellent Wigan scores this one was very simple. A metre out, at dummy half, Tommy Leuluai just powered through Keith Mason and Shaun Lunt to score near the sticks. Another easy kick made it 18-6 after 18 minutes.
A knock on at the restart from Paul Deacon gave the Giants another rare attack but Wigan defended well. Soon after that in the 23rd minute, Wigan introduced Gareth Hock after what accumulated to be a 69 game suspension. He got a massive roar as he entered the field, but seriously Gareth, what's with the tattoos on the back of the neck?
Couple of minutes later and Wigan were over for their fourth score of the game. This was a particularly pleasing try for me because Wigan went 90 metres to score it. The Giants thought they had done well after Shaun Lunt found touch on the last tackle, a bugs dick before the try line, but we are a threat from anywhere on the field.
Paul Prescott set it up really with a superb hit up that left both Lee Gilmour and Eorl Crabtree well out of the defensive line. Quick play the ball saw us swing left. Offload from Paul Deacon was cleverly flicked on in the air by Finch and this set Sam off on another clean break. Watch him on the replay do a stepping zig zag, it took two players out and with two others already missing from the defensive line it was a massive over lap for Carmont to take advantage of in the left corner. Pat missed his only kick of the game trying to convert this one but at 22-6 we didn't care that much.
The game went scrappy for the next ten minutes or so, mainly due to Phil Bentham piping up with his whistle, but although 22-6 would have been a happy half time score for us, it was made even better with another score in the 39th minute. Last tackle play and Huddersfield are expecting the kick. But Wigan put on the same set move that allowed Sam to score earlier. Finch gets the ball, their are two dummy runners that a pass misses out, defense is shockingly all over the place, and this time Carmont sends Pat in for an easy try. Hooter had sounded before Pat converted so it was an extra nail in Huddersfield's coffin when he converted off the touchline to make it 28-6 at the break.
The visitors did improve a little after the break but in reality we remained in full control. First try of the second half is always important and Wigan got it on 55 minutes. Huddersfield's goal line defensive line was total garbage to be honest. Shockingly Massive overlap's on the wings all game. This time Wigan took advantage down the right. On the last tackle, excellent offload from Lee Mossop under the posts to keep the set alive then Josh Charnley collected a pin point cross field kick from Deacon in the corner. Lovely leap from the young lad to take it. Pat nailed another touchline kick for 34-6.
I remember looking at the clock on the big screen around the hour mark and saying that it would be nice if we could rack up 50! That's how in control of this game we were and although we didn't quite make that, you can't really say on this occasion that we took our foot off the gas.
Our seventh try came in the 67th minute. Lee Mossop had only three tries in his first 50 Wigan appearances, before last week's trip to Saints, but he added to his try in that game with another here. He took a bullet pass from Hoffman and watch on the replay how he put in a lovely step to out fox last defender Grix. Great stuff that, not bad for a prop forward! Pat's sixth conversion made it 40-6.
Knowing the standards set by the current Wigan coaching set up, you know they will be disappointed the lads conceded the try on 71 minutes. It took some great skill though from the Giants. Good kick over the top by Grix was taken by Jermaine McGillvray and he cleverly hacked on again. Sam Tomkins flapped at the grubber and this allowed Danny Kirmond to hack on and score near the posts. Easy conversion for Grix made it 40-12.
Sam though made up for that error with an all class individual effort to complete his hatrick in the 76th minute. He collected a loose ball 25 metres out and spotting a gap he just chipped over the top, then hacked on the loose ball, to score the try! My response to that was "bloody rubbish - I'd rather have Richie Myler" ;-) Anyway, Pat converted again to round off an excellent 46-12 win.
Now I've got to be honest I think the top 2 will remain now till the end of the season between Wigan and Warrington but if Huddersfield do manage to get back in their Wigan did themselves good in this game in terms of points difference. At kick off the Giants points difference was 6 better than ours. At full time we've built up a 62 point advantage on them. Always better off to have the extra point that points difference gives you than not!
So all in all an excellent day. Nice to see some faces in attendance who have had, and still are having, their tough battles in hospital during recent weeks! That made it an even better day for me! Let's keep this form up now and in 10 days we shall be back top of the table by right!
Super League 16 - Round 19 Results
|Fri 24 June||Crusaders 18 Salford City Reds 22||2,576|
|Fri 24 June||Leeds Rhinos 12 Bradford Bulls 18||18,095|
|Fri 24 June||Warrington Wolves 35 St Helens 28||13,257|
|Sat 25 June||Harlequins 0 Hull Kingston Rovers 34||2,927|
|Sat 25 June||Wigan Warriors 46 Huddersfield Giants 12||19,169|
|Sat 25 June||Catalan Dragons 54 Castleford tigers 20||8,695|
|Sun 26 June||Wakefield Wildcats 18 Hull FC 52||7,965|
Engage Super League 16 Table - After This Round
|9||Salford City Reds||19||8||0||11||404||543||-139||16|
|11||Hull Kingston Rovers||19||7||0||12||444||532||-88||14|
*Crusaders and Wakefield both deducted 4 points for entering administration.