A SCOTT Grix try nine minutes from time ensured Wigan Warriors will travel to the World Club Challenge in Sydney on the back of a defeat in the first game of the new Super League season.
In a physical contest, Warriors never took control as last season’s League Leaders Shield winners always stayed far enough in front to record their third straight regular season win over Wigan.
Shaun Wane’s men started brightly - a bone-jarring hit on Giants’ monster prop Eorl Crabtree in the first set looked like a statement of intent - and Matty Smith, Blake Green and Matty Bowen combined sweetly in a move straight from the training ground to send Dan Sarginson on a threatening break which ended in a knock-on.
But Huddersfield’s Brett Ferres opened the scoring in the fifth minute. On the last tackle a break from Aaron Murphy looked to have been sealed off but the winger dabbed a kick towards the line for Ferres to pounce on, with video referee Steve Ganson giving the nod once he had checked for offside.
Man of Steel Danny Brough uncharacteristically rattled his conversion attempt off the upright but the champions were now chasing the game.
Warriors found themselves further behind 12 minutes later, despite flashy attacking combinations between Green and Bowen making room for Liam Farrell and Sarginson to press upfield.
A string of penalties let the champions down, with Scott Taylor being penalised for using his knees in the tackle giving the Giants the territory needed for Jermaine McGillvary to ground a Brough kick before it trickled into touch.
Warriors’ woes continued as the half-hour mark approached. A set on the Giants’ line came to nothing despite a close range effort from Joe Burgess and once the away side were back in the Wigan end of the field, Joe Wardle was left with a generously wide overlap to put McGillvary in.
Larne Patrick left the field on a stretcher in the 39th minute and Brough took note of the ticking clock and attempted a drop-goal, only for his wretched luck with the boot to rear its head once more as the kick sailed wide.
It took five minutes of the second half for Iain Thornley to finally open Wigan’s 2014 account and the home side to briefly come to life.
After forcing a drop-out, a simple passing move going through the hands of Smith, Green and Sarginson found the centre for him to touch down by the corner flag after the third video referee consultation of the evening.
Five minutes later, teenage winger Burgess supplemented his fine pre-season form by accepting a sharp pass from Bowen to crash over in the opposite corner.
But the Cherry and Whites’ revival was short-lived as a nifty short kick-off gave the Giants field position to ship McGillvary in for his hat-trick.
That would prove to be enough to keep Wigan at bay but Brough broke the line in the 71st minute to send Grix over and seal victory.
Wigan Warriors: Matty Bowen, Joe Burgess, Darrell Goulding, Dan Sarginson, Iain Thornley, Blake Green, Matty Smith, Scott Taylor, Sam Powell, Eddy Pettybourne, Tony Clubb, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower
Replacements: Michael McIlorum, Jack Hughes, Dom Crosby, Gil Dudson
Huddersfield Giants: Scott Grix, Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Joe Wardle, Aaron Murphy, Danny Brough, Luke Robinson, Eorl Crabtree, Shaun Lunt, Antonio Kaufusi, Brett Ferres, Larne Patrick, Chris Bailey
Replacements: Craig Kopczak, Michael Lawrence, Ukuma Ta’ai, Kyle Wood
Tries: Thornley, Burgess
Tries:McGillvary 3, Ferres, Grix
Goals: Brough 2
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Video Referee: Steve Ganson