Huddersfield Giants were denied as Wigan Warriors came from behind to secure victory in the final minutes at the DW Stadium.
Huddersfield stunned the home fans as they raced into a 10-0 lead after just 12 minutes with Jermaine McGillvary crossing for two identical tries as Wigan looked out of sorts in defence.
The Warriors, who struggled to cope with Huddersfield’s ferocity in attack and defence, did manage to pull a try back through Liam Farrell but they trailed 10-6 at half-time.
The half-time team talk from Shaun Wane must have made its mark as Wigan scored quickfire tries from Dom Manfredi and George Williams to run the game on its head with the Warriors leading 18-10.
Two on-loan players then took centre stage as Jack Hughes, on loan from Wigan, crossed over near the corner for the Giants before Larne Patrick, on loan from Huddersfield, put the game out of the visitors’ reach as he collected a smart offload from the impressive Williams.
A late try from Eorl Crabtree set up a grandstand finish, but Dom Crosby had the final say for Wigan.
Huddersfield took the lead after just seven minutes. They thwarted a Warriors attack on their line and on the back of a penalty they marched 90m up the other end to score. Jamie Ellis threw a neat cut-out pass to Leroy Cudjoe who in turn sent McGillvary over in corner. Danny Brough’s conversion made it 6-0.
The Giants extended their advantage with a carbon copy of the first try as McGillvary was left in acres of space on the right following good work from Ellis, Scott Grix, Hughes and Cudjoe. Brough failed to convert but the Giants held a 10-0 lead.
Huddersfield had a game plan to attack Wigan’s left side of defence and Anthony Gelling and Manfredi were finding it increasingly difficult to keep Cudjoe and McGillvary at bay. The Warriors did manage to pull a try back as Farrell broke up the middle before racing 35 metres unopposed to cross over. Matty Smith’s conversion cut the lead to four as they trailed 10-6 at the interval.
The Warriors dominated the early stages of the second half as they were constantly camped in Huddersfield’s half. Tony Clubb was held up over the line and they finally got the try they needed as Manfredi caught a low ball from Williams and stepped past McGillvary to touch down. Smith converted as Wigan led for the first time 12-10.
Wigan then recorded back-to-back tries as Farrell again made a telling break and he kept his composure to draw Grix in and send Williams racing away to score. Smith again converted for an 18-10 lead.
The Giants refused to lie down and they got to within two points as Hughes used all his strength to go over. Brough converted and they trailed 18-16. After Hughes had hurt his own club by going over it was down to Patrick to do the same as he was on hand to collect a neat offload from Williams to crash over between the posts. Smith made it 24-16.
This game was not over and Crabtree went over from close range and Brough’s conversion saw them trail 24-22 with seven minutes left on the clock.
But Wigan again stepped up a gear when needed and Crosby sealed the victory with three minutes left with a barge-over try. Smith’s conversion completed the win.
Wigan Warriors: Bowen, Charnley, Gelling, Bateman, Manfredi, Williams, Smith, Crosby, McIlorum, Mossop, Tomkins, L. Farrell, O’Loughlin. Substitutes: Powell, Clubb, Tautai, Patrick.
Huddersfield Giants: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Ellis, Crabtree, Robinson, Huby, Ta’ai, Hughes, Lawrence. Substitutes: Bailey, Kopczak, Leeming, Smith.
Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL).