Wigan Warriors stayed in the hunt for a top-four finish with a hard-fought 18-4 triumph over Huddersfield Giants to leapfrog their visitors in the Betfred Super League table.
The Giants – victors over Wakefield Trinity a week earlier in the opening round of the Super 8s – led a wet encounter 4-0 after Jermaine McGillvary picked up a loose ball from a Danny Brough kick, but the Warriors hit back through an Anthony Gelling score.
It looked like it was going to be all square at half-time until George Williams’ kick through was touched down by Liam Farrell.
The hosts then stretched their lead by two points in the second half through the boot of Sam Powell, and Sam Tomkins rubbed salt in Huddersfield’s wounds with a late try.
Both teams had early chances to score with Darnell McIntosh going close for the Giants, while Joe Burgess was denied a score in the corner for Wigan thanks to a hit from McGillvary.
Huddersfield hit the front first thanks to McGillvary, but a lot of praise has to be given to McIntosh.
The winger picked up a loose ball from Gelling to race clear only to be halted by Tom Davies, but seconds later Brough kicked wide for McGillvary to pounce and put his team in front.
Wigan hit back immediately as the Giants spilled possession from the restart, allowing the Warriors to set up and Gelling made amends by going over.
Williams was unable to convert and the game was finely poised at 4-4.
Back-to-back penalties put Wigan back on the front foot and they looked to move ahead for the first time.
Burgess was again hit hard by McGillvary before John Bateman was brought down close to the line. The Giants received a penalty 10 metres from Wigan’s line and, despite the bench screaming for Brough to take the two, they opted to run it.
They were rewarded with a drop-out moments later but were unable to capitalise as Burgess cleared the danger by picking up yet another loose ball.
Wigan looked like they had taken the lead as Powell went over from close range after Farrell was held short, but the replacement hooker was unable to ground the ball and the chance went begging.
Both teams had enough possession in the first half without either dominating, but it was Wigan who went into the break with their noses in front as Farrell reacted quickest to touch down Williams’ grubber-kick by the side of the posts. Powell converted for a 10-4 advantage.
The Warriors were looking to put more daylight between themselves and Huddersfield after the break, and Burgess went close as he attempted to chase his own kick through before Powell extended their lead to eight with a penalty.
The slippery conditions were hindering both teams, with a lot of ball being spilled, and Sebastine Ikahihifo was lucky not to be sin-binned for 10 minutes after he deliberately prevented Tomkins from taking a quick restart.
Wigan had plenty of chances to win the game comfortably, with Burgess guilty of spurning a couple, but they made the scoreline more emphatic on the hooter as Tomkins kicked ahead and touched down following good work from Michael McIlorum. Tomkins converted to seal the game 18-4.
Wigan Warriors: S. Tomkins, Davies, Gelling, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leuluai, Nuuausala, McIlorum, Sutton, Bateman, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Substitutes: Isa, Clubb, Powell, Tautai.
Huddersfield Giants : Rankin, McGillvary, Mellor, Turner, McIntosh, Gaskell, Brough, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Wakeman, Hinchcliffe, Ta’ai, Clough. Substitutes: O’Brien, Lawrence, Smith, Dickinson.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).