By Alastair Hancock
– Wigan Warriors beat the Huddersfield Giants in the second round of the Super 8s at the DW stadium on Friday night.
– An 18-4 must needed win puts the Cherry and Whites on 25 points and three behind the top four in the table.
– Tries from Anthony Gelling, Liam Farrell and Sam Tomkins proved enough to gain the valuable two points.
Wigan Warriors score three tries to win their first games of the 2017 Super 8s. The two points put the Cherry and Whites in 7th place with the chase for the top four heating up.
The home side conceded the first try, as Jermaine McGillvary touched down with ten minutes on the clock. However, Wigan reacted instantly with a try from right centre Anthony Gelling.
Going into the break, the Cherry and Whites went ahead. A score from Liam Farrell was converted by Sam Powell and Wigan lead by six points.
Unfortunately, the second half did not live up to its expectations, as no tries were scored. The Warriors added an extra two points through Powell, as he converted a penalty on the hour mark.
However, after that it was Wigan’s defence that proved to be the difference after Huddersfield produced a furry of attacks late on. The resistant Warriors line in the end won the game for Shaun Wane’s side on a wet night at the DW.
Shaun Wane names an unchanged starting 13 that played against Leeds last week, however, Sam Powell returns on the bench with Josh Ganson missing out.
Huddersfield makes two changes to their side that beat Wakefield last time out, as Leroy Cudjoe and Sam Repira are both replaced by Michael Lawrence and Tyler Dickinson.
It was the away side who opened the scoring with Jermaine McGillvary darting over in the right corner. A cross field kick by Danny Brough was fumbled by winger Joe Burgess and allowed winger McGillvary to pick up the ball and go over. Brough missed the kick but the Giants lead 0-4 with ten minutes played.
The Warriors responded straight away, as Anthony Gelling crossed over. A quick-paced move down the right side resulted in Tommy Leuluai providing a pass to Gelling who took on the Huddersfield defence and scored the try. Sam Powell could not convert, as the score was level at four apiece.
In a half lacking quality from both sides, Wigan created excitement, as they took the lead with three minutes remaining until the break. The try came through Liam Farrell, as a neat grubber kick by George Williams was well picked up by the second rower and he dived over with ease. Powell added the extras to put the Cherry and Whites 10-4 in front at half time.
Wigan Warriors 10-4 Huddersfield Giants
With half an hour to go, Wigan extended their lead with an advantage of eight points, as Powell converted a penalty goal in front of the posts.
The weather was proving to be the difference of creation and flair, as neither side could get a foothold in the game. Another accurate kick by Williams, again on the left side, targeted the chasing Burgess but the winger was unable to grasp any grip on to the ball, as it trembled out of touch.
Similarly, in the 67th minute, a blistering pass by Sam Tomkins seemed to be perfect for Burgess to collect and run down the line for the try. The England international was unfortunate again, as the ball slipped away from his hands and out of play.
After numerous attacks on the Wigan line by the Giants, the Warriors stood strong and defended brilliantly with Farrell racing back for a try saver, as he stopped Alex Mellor from scoring.
Wigan made sure of the victory with ten seconds to go through a Tomkins try. The full back capitalised on a deflected kick and showed off his football skills with a kick towards the line in which he chased and picked up and eventually scored. Tomkins converted his own try and rounded of an 18-4 win.
Wigan Warriors 18-4 Huddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors –18
Tries: Gelling, Farrell, Tomkins
Goals: Powell 2/3 Tomkins 1/1
Huddersfield Giants– 4
Goals: Brough 0/1
Wigan Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins, 36. Tom Davies, 3. Anthony Gelling, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Joe Burgess, 6. George Williams, 7. Tommy Leuluai, 8. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 9. Michael McIlorum, 19. Ryan Sutton, 14. John Bateman, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.
Interchange: 20. Willie Isa, 15. Tony Clubb, 16. Sam Powell, 17. Taulima Tautai.
Huddersfield Giants: 35. Jordan Rankin, 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 30. Alex Mellor, 34. Jordan Turner, 24. Darnell McIntosh, 4. Lee Gaskell, 6. Danny Brough, 15. Sebastine Ikahihifo, 14. Kruise Leeming, 10. Shannon Wakeman, 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 17. Ukuma Ta’ai, 18. Paul Clough.
Interchange: 31. Adam O’Brian, 13. Michael Lawrence, 20. Daniel Smith, 22. Tyler Dickinson.