Wigan fight back to beat Giants

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Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Wigan twice came from behind to get the better of bogey team Huddersfield and 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 a 24-16 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 and for long periods they struggled for cohesion.

Huddersfield, unrecognisable from the side that lost 19-0 at home to Hull in their opening fixture, made a bright start and, aided by a flurry of early penalties, took the lead when prop Anthony Mullally took Shaun Lunt’s short pass to crash over for their first points of 2015.

Danny Brough’s goal made it 6-0 but Wigan gradually worked their way into the game and winger Joe Burgess twice got into his stride down the left flank, only to be denied by some last-ditch tackling from Jake Connor and Jermaine McGillvary.

A sustained spell of pressure told on 17 minutes 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 and the Giants made the most of the extra space to dominate the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Wigan’s England winger Josh Charnley prevented his opposite number Aaron Murphy from grounding the ball and Connor knocked on attempting to touch down Brough’s kick, but Huddersfield were finally rewarded five minutes before the break when Murphy collected Connor’s grubber kick to register his side’s third try.

The momentum was still with Huddersfield at the start of the second half but Wigan’s defence held firm and they were right back in the game when Tomkins, looking a class act at centre, beat Cudjoe to score his second try on 50 minutes.

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

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 and a run of penalties enabled the home side to subject the Giants defence to intense pressure.

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.

Sutton then made sure of the points when he crashed over near the posts, just moments after emerging from the sin bin, and Hampshire rounded off the scoring with the conversion.

Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

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