1 Mar 2020
Giants beaten by Warriors
Huddersfield Giants 10-42 Wigan Warriors
By Joe Buck
Huddersfield Giants’ unbeaten start to the season came to a very abrupt halt after a 42-10 defeat by Wigan Warriors.
A fifteen-minute blitz which saw the visitors score five tries, three courtesy of Liam Marshall, made all the difference on a wet afternoon in Huddersfield.
Adam O’Brien scored Huddersfield’s only try on a very disappointing afternoon at the John Smith’s stadium.
A comedy of errors eight minutes into the game sparked this clash into life after a cagey opening.
Jackson Hastings’ kick hit Matty English in the face and after Wigan had seemingly mopped up the error, Zak Hardaker inexplicably dropped the ball, giving Jake Wardle a run at the line.
Unfortunately for Giants, their attack was subdued by the resolute Wigan defence and they came away from their most positive move thus far, empty handed.
However, just two minutes later and the deadlock was broken through an Aidan Sezer penalty, slap bang in the middle of the posts.
The visitors were then rewarded with a succession of penalties and looked to forge their first real opportunity of the afternoon.
They duly converted when Willie Isa bundled his way over the line despite having numerous Giants defenders around him.
Similar to Suaia Matagi’s try against Hull KR, the Wigan player was seemingly wrapped up but found a gap and the visitors went ahead 4-2 after Hardaker’s conversion went wide of the posts.
The Giants response was instant however when a huge hit from Matagi, straight from kick-off, regained the ball for the hosts.
After a couple of drives, Giants were then themselves rewarded with a penalty and Sezer coolly converted to equalise and ensure the hosts trailed for just two minutes.
A jinking run from Jordan Turner, followed up by a thunderous tackle from Jermaine McGillvary that forced a dropout, fired up the crowd in a first thirty minutes that was dominated by defence.
The crowd remained hot and when O’Brien slipped through the Wigan defence, straight from dummy-half to score his second of the season, Giants were back on top.
A key catalyst of this try was an offload by James Gavet to Aaron Murphy which reinvigorated the Giants attack that looked like losing momentum.
As expected, the imperious Sezer converted for his third of the game and gave Giants a 10-4 lead.
However, the Giants captain soon found himself in trouble for a high-tackle on Thomas Leulai, meaning he would have to spend ten minutes in the sin-bin.
This decision was to prove very costly for Giants and the tide soon turned as the visitors soon advantage through Liam Marshall who exploited the numbers game to score an acrobatic effort in the corner.
Wigan then scored their third try of the half when Sam Powell, taking note of his opposing number, scored from dummy-half.
Hardaker scored his first conversion of the game to give the visitors a 14-10 lead.
They weren’t done there however as, with just twenty seconds of the first half left, Marshall chased a kick and with a clean take, out paced a desperate Sam Wood to score in the corner, giving Wigan a 20-10 half-time lead.
Just two minutes into the second-half and Wigan scored yet another try, this time through Dom Manfredi.
A mistake from Sam Wood gifted Wigan the ball from the ten-metre line and the visitors extended their lead to 14 points.
Liam Marshall secured his hat-trick with another acrobatic effort in the corner and the Huddersfield collapse continued.
In the space of fifteen minutes before and after half-time, Giants conceded five tries and went from 10-4 ahead, to trailing 30-10.
The game began to fizzle out after this fifteen-minute blitz with both try lines rarely being threatened.
This was until Oliver Partington grabbed his first of the game, capitalising on a slip to score under the posts.
Hardaker added a simple conversion and gave Warriors an unassailable 36-10 lead.
As the game entered its final stages, Warriors finished on top and once again scored under the posts, this time through George Burgess who scored his first in Wigan colours.
Hardaker’s conversion meant Wigan went back home with the two points and a comfortable 42-10 win in the bag.
Despite being on top for the first thirty minutes, Giants were outclassed by Wigan and their performance for an hour, including a scoreless second-half, was very reminiscent of their troubles in 2019.
Huddersfield were porous in defence and allowed the visitors to score at will at times, a complete transformation from the mean defence Giants offered in the opening three rounds.
Giants may go home rueing some decisions made by the officials but Simon Woolford and his players will know that their performance never warranted victory and am major improvement is needed for the trip to St Helens on Friday night.