Huddersfield Giants 10 Wigan Warriors 42: Sezer's sin-bin leaves Giants ruined

RARELY can Huddersfield Giants, or any side for that matter, have suffered such a costly yellow card.

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When captain Aidan Sezer was sin-binned in the 34th minute, his side not only led Wigan Warriors 10-4 but looked every inch like an unbeaten side looking destined for Super League’s top spot.

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By the time the Australian scrum-half returned to the field, they had conceded four tries and 20 unanswered points to trail 24-10 and rather resemble a bedraggled mess.

Huddersfield's Aidan Sezer (PIC: TONY JOHNSON)

The outstanding Liam Marshall quickly finished off a 15-minute hat-trick to further add to the misery as the home side casually stood off Harry Smith to allow the youngster to weave across field.

It soon got much worse with Huddersfield unable to muster a further point as their winning start was ended emphatically with Wigan, instead, going top.

Granted, the visitors’ ruthlessness was impressive and their former coach Shaun Wane, watching from the main stand ahead of naming his first England squad on Tuesday, would have been proud of such an effort if he was still in charge.

Nevertheless, that does not help Huddersfield who will be all the more irked given scrum-half Sezer’s indiscretion was so unnecessary.

Huddersfield's Jake Wardle on the attack (PIC: TONY JOHNSON)

The ‘marquee’ signing has been hailed since his arrival in the UK from Canberra Raiders and rightly so given what he had done to earn the West Yorkshire club three wins from three.

Indeed, his class was initially in evidence here, too, as his pinpoint kicking earned Giants two drop-outs before the half-hour mark, the second leading to Adam O’Brien’s try that gave them that aforementioned lead.

Giants were in control; well-disciplined, well-marshalled, defending well and playing well all over the park.

Wigan had barely threatened the Huddersfield line, aside from Willie Isa’s barge-over try in the 16th minute.

When they marched downfield for a second time in the 34th minute, scrum-half Thomas Leuluai needed to stretch high in centrefield to take a pass 20m out on the last tackle.

He posed little threat given Sezer - who had slotted two penalties and a conversion - was already well positioned and had time to make a rudimentary tackle but he was badly off-cue.

Leuluai was left crumpled on the ground and Sezer offered little argument when referee James Child reached for the yellow card.

He slowly made his way from the field but it did not slow down Wigan who instantly made their mark in the following set, Great Britain half-back Jackson Hastings firing out a long pass to the left for Marshall to score his first.

They made their way upfield with ease for Sam Powell to crash over from dummy half in the 39th minute and, as Zak Hardaker kicked the first of his five goals, Huddersfield must have been grateful the half-time hooter was on its way.

It did not come soon enough, though; from the restart, Marshall produced a remarkable piece of skill to chip ahead from inside his own 20m, regather and then speed away from the chasing Jermaine McGillvary and Sam Wood for a sublime score with nine seconds left on the clock.

Wane already knows all about the 23-year-old from his own time at Wigan but, especially given he was up against current England winger McGillvary here, he could well come into his thinking in the months ahead.

To rub salt into the wounds, Hardaker slotted the touchline conversion and Huddersfield -departed the field looking visibly shocked having conceded three tries in just seven minutes.

Trailing 20-10 at the break, they needed to score first in the second period or at least hold out until Sezer’s return.

They did neither; with the Australian still warming up on the touchline, Smith’s 40/20 at the end of the first set after the restart put them on the attack once more.

Hardaker got on the outside of Jake Wardle to furnish Dom Manfredi with a score and the game was over.

What will disappoint Giants coach Simon Woolford most is that their defensive aptitude did not improve once back up to a full complement.

They had prided themselves on their defensive work so far this season and had the best record in the competition.

But young half-back Smith was allowed the freedom of the John Smith’s Stadium pitch to set Marshall up for his treble and, though Jake Wardle almost scored at the other end, there was no relief.

Instead, forward Ollie Partington stepped through the middle comfortably on the hour park and then beat full-back Louis Senior with similar ease.

There was just enough time for George Burgess, Wigan’s own big signing from the NRL, to bulldoze over for his first try for the club near the death.

Huddersfield Giants: L Senior; McGillvary, Turner, Jake Wardle, Wood; Gaskell, Sezer; English, O’Brien, Matagi, Murphy, Joe Wardle, Lawrence. Substitutes: Clough, Edwards, Gavet, Ta’ai.

Wigan Warriors: French; Manfredi, Hardaker, Hankinson, Marshall; Leuluai, Hastings; Clubb, Powell, Partington, Isa, Farrell, Smithies. Substitutes: Bullock, Burgesss, Byrne, Smith.

Referee: James Child (Dewsbury)