Wigan 24 Huddersfield 16: Giants unable to hold on for their ‘regular’ victory

Huddersfield Giants' Ukuma Ta'ai is tacked by Wigan Warriors' John Bateman.
Huddersfield Giants' Ukuma Ta'ai is tacked by Wigan Warriors' John Bateman.
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Huddersfield GIANTS twice heled the lead, but Wigan Warriors came from behind to claim their first Super League win of the season.

The Giants were on course for a fourth successive regular-season victory at the DW Stadium when they led 16-10 at half-time, but Wigan roared back with three second-half tries, with prop Ryan Sutton clinching the triumph with his first try for the club seven minutes from the end.

Already without suspended England scrum-half Matty Smith, Wigan lost his half-back partner George Williams to injury in the warm-up and were forced to draft in Ryan Hampshire.

Huddersfield, unrecognisable from the side that lost 19-0 at home to Hull in their opening fixture, made a bright start and took the lead when prop Anthony Mullally took Shaun Lunt’s short pass to crash over.

Danny Brough’s goal made it 6-0 but Wigan gradually worked their way into the game and winger Joe Burgess was only denied by some last-ditch tackling.

A sustained spell of pressure told when centre Joel Tomkins took a delayed pass from full-back Matty Bowen to score Wigan’s opening try and, six minutes later, Powell put second rower John Bateman through a gap in the visitors’ defence for a second. Powell converted the second try as the Warriors led 10-6.

But Huddersfield regained the advantage on 25 minutes when second rower Jack Hughes, playing on loan from Wigan, took a return pass from centre Leroy Cudjoe and got scrum-half Jamie Ellis over for his first try for the club.

Brough’s conversion made it 12-10 and two minutes later Wigan were reduced to 12 men when Powell was sin-binned for a “chicken-wing” tackle on prop Eorl Crabtree.

Five minutes before the break Murphy collected Connor’s grubber kick to register the Giants’ third try.

The momentum was still with the Giants at the start of the second half, but Wigan’s defence held firm and Tomkins, looking a class act at centre, beat Cudjoe for his second try on 50 minutes.

Hampshire was again unable to add the conversion to leave his side trailing 16-14 and were chances at both ends followed, Huddersfield centre Joe Wardle and Josh Charnley spilling passes close to the line.

There were even more gaps on the field when Craig Huby and Sutton were sent to the sin bin on 62 minutes following a brawl.

It was tight and tense but Wigan struck the crucial blow on 68 minutes when Bateman demonstrated a lethal combination of pace and footwork to break clear on halfway and hooker Michael McIlorum was in support to finish off.

Wigan’s Sutton then made sure of the points when he crashed over near the posts, just moments after emerging from the sin 

Hampshire rounded off the scoring with the conversion.

Wigan: Bowen, Charnley, Gelling, J. Tomkins, Burgess, Williams, Powell, Crosby, McIlorum, Sutton, L. Farrell, Bateman, O’Loughlin. Substitutes: Clubb, Patrick, L. Tomkins, C. Farrell.

Huddersfield: Connor, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Ellis, Huby, Lunt, Mullally, Ferres, Hughes, Ta’ai. Substitutes: Robinson, Crabtree, Bailey, Kopczak.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (RFL).