Wigan’s unbeaten home record stayed intact as they defeated Huddersfield in a narrow victory in the first game of the new super eights format.
It was a late Dom Crosby try that wrapped the game up for Wigan after they had suffered a slow start conceding two early Jermaine McGillvary tries within the first ten minutes.
Second-rower Liam Farrell really turned the game in Wigan’s favour as he really turned up the heat scoring a late first half try as well as assisting George Williams’ second half try. Winger Dom Manfredi crossed between these two scores. Jack Hughes, on loan from Huddersfield, and Dom Crosby were the other scorers for the Warriors as they won the first ever super eights fixture.
As for Huddersfield Larne Patrick and Eorl Crabtree were their late scorers however they were always behind the Warriors in the second half.
Man of the match Farrell said: “This win gives us five points on Huddersfield which means we have a bit of a cushion and we still have a 100% record at home, we need to keep that up and keep on improving.”
Wigan Coach Shaun Wane said: “That week off doesn’t do us any good, it never has but to come back from a 10-0 deficit against a good team in Huddersfield it shows a lot of resilience and toughness.”
Huddersfield winger and try-scorer McGillvary said: “We started like a house on fire but we need to play like that for the full eighty and not just the first twenty we can’t keep changing the game plan midway through the game but we’ll keep going.”
The victory moves the Warriors up to second in the league leapfrogging local rivals St Helens. Huddersfield remain in fourth position in the new eight team table and have now failed to beat Wigan in their last three attempts.
The visitors were first to score inside the first ten minutes through winger McGillvary. Huddersfield capitalized on some early pressure by throwing the ball out wide before reaching McGillvary who dove over with ease.
Just minutes later the Giants scored an almost identical try to extend their lead. Again the ball was flung out to the left before finding McGillvary who, in similar fashion, went over the line untouched. For the majority of the first half Huddersfield dominated applying a lot of pressure to Wigan however they couldn’t further their lead.
As for Wigan they managed to cut down on the penalties they were conceding and began to settle into the game. This paid off in the last ten minutes of the half when Farrell got them on the scoreboard. The second-rower hit the ball at pace before breaking through the Giants defence. He managed to turn it up a gear and used his pace to round oncoming full-back Scott Grix and score. However the try did come on the back of an incorrect knock-on decision against Danny Brough.
Despite a lot first half turnaround for the Warriors which included a Josh Charnley break as well as repeat sets on Huddersfield’s line it was the Giants who went into the interval ahead.
The Warriors fight back continued in the second half as they scored two tries in the space of two minutes. Firstly Williams through a long ball out wide to Manfredi who stepped inside of McGillvary before powering over Grix. Williams would follow his assist up with a try of his own. Farrell broke from deep in his own after fending off Hughes he then drew in Grix before giving Williams the ball. The youngster raced to the line to put Wigan into the lead.
Hughes would soon make up for this missed tackle when he pulled the Giants back into the game. The second-rower would hit a short ball from Grix and managed to bundle over Williams and Gelling before reaching for the line to score ahainst his parent club. However the man in this swap deal Patrick would soon return the favour with a Wigan try. Williams looked to be tackled before throwing an outrageous offload to Patrick who crashed over, the youngster really displaying his class.
However the Giants weren’t going down without a fight as they pulled themselves back within two points as Crabtree powered his way over from metres out and finishing just to the left of the sticks. Fortunately for the Warriors they managed to ease any late nerves when Crosby jumped into the hooker role and burrowed his way through the Huddersfield defence to seal the victory for Wigan in the first game of the super eights.
Wigan face a difficult trip to Heandingley to face league leaders Leeds next weekend whilst Huddersfield host Catalans.
Wigan: Bowen, Charnley, Gelling, Bateman, Manfredi, Williams, Smith, Crosby, Mcilorum, Mossop, Tomkins, Farrell, O’Loughlin.
Interchanges: Powell, Clubb, Tautai, Patrick.
Huddersfield: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Ellis, Crabtree, Robinson, Huby, Ta’ai, Hughes, Lawrence.
Interchanges: Bailey, Kopczak, Leeming, Smith.
Referee: Ben Thaler.