Wigan Warriors 16 Huddersfield Giants 12: Losing streak is over

The wait is over. Wigan edged a nervy encounter to snap a five game losing run and ease the pressure on coach Adrian Lam.
Tony Clubb returned from an eight game banTony Clubb returned from an eight game ban
Tony Clubb returned from an eight game ban

The victory wasn't convincing and it wasn't particularly pretty, but it nudged them up a spot to fifth and more importantly blew away some of the misery from their recent run of results.

Wigan were 12-6 down at half-time - the seventh time in a row they have trailed at the break - with Liam Marshall's first try of the year keeping them in the contest.

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But they didn't concede any more points as they clawed their way ahead with tries from Mitch Clark and then Harry Smith and then had the resilience to cling on at the DW Stadium.

Kai Pearce-Paul, Marshall and Jackson Hastings were among their bright sparks in a workmanlike display.

And while there were plenty of issues to address, not least their clumsy attack, at least they can do so on the platform of a hard-fought win.

Lam's line-up was largely dictated for him, given he was missing Zak Hardaker, Bevan French, Jai Field, John Bateman, Willie Isa, Dom Manfredi, Oli Partington, Ethan Havard and Morgan Smithies.

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Tony Clubb returned from suspension, 18-year-old hooker Brad O'Neill continued on the bench and Hastings carried on covering the No.1 role, with Umyla Hanley drafted into the wing.

Liam Marshall goes close. Picture: SWPIxLiam Marshall goes close. Picture: SWPIx
Liam Marshall goes close. Picture: SWPIx

But if there was a club playing this weekend with more absentees, it was Huddersfield, having had to forfeit their midweek match at Castleford and fielding Nathan Peteru and Nathan Peats - recruited from Leigh this week - to help them deal with a list of 12 absentees.

Both sides made composed starts, ticking off their completed sets but it was Wigan who cracked first as they conceded two opportunist tries.

In the ninth minute, Chris McQueen drover over after profiting from a fumble in the tackle by ex-Warrior Joe Greenwood.

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And three minutes later, with Sam Powell injured in back play, Olly Ashall-Bott did well to beat Oliver GIldart to an improvised cross-field kick and send Leroy Cudjoe over. Oliver Russell converted both tries.

Wigan, as is their trend, improved from the quarter mark but when they got close to the Giants' line their agitated attack was easily read and repelled.

Increased offloads did create occasional half-chances but their execution was again patchy. After turning down a shot at goal in the 20th minute, Marshall went closest when he had a spectacular try correctly ruled out by video referee James Child.

Wigan's energy appeared to fade but just before half-time, Marshall pounced on Smith's measured kick to arc over for his first try of the year. Smith nailed the conversion to cut the gap to six points.

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Early in the second-half they survived an injury scare to Thomas Leuluai before Marshall was denied a try for a Gildart forward pass - another chance which went begging.

But they didn't let their heads drop, chipping and punching at the Giants line until Clark thundered over. Smith couldn't convert but the try seemed to lift Wigan another notch as the game went into the final half hour.

They turned down a simple penalty to draw the game level but repeat sets, again, failed to conjure any attacks which causes the Giants any real trouble.

But when the hosts needed some inspiration, Hastings and Farrell stood tall and combined on the left edge to send the supporting Smith over for a try he converted, making it 16-12.

The tension ratcheted up as the minutes ticked on.

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Innes Senior looked to have locked the scores with four minutes to go, only for a try to be ruled out for an Ash Golding forward pass.

And then at the other end, O'Neill's fabulous pass released Smith but the visitors scrambled well.

These two sides meet again at Huddersfield on Friday, in a game rearranged from June.

Wigan: Hastings; Hanley, Bibby, Gildart, Marshall; Leuluai, Smith; Singleton, Powell, Clubb, Farrell, Pearce-Paul, Bullock. Subs: Byrne, Clark, O'Neill, Shorrocks.

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Huddersfield: Golding; Senior, Wardle, Cudjoe, Ashall-Bott; Wood, Russell; Yates, Peats, Gavet, Jones, McQueen, Greenwood. Subs: Hewitt, Peteru, Stevens, Pryce.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths

Half-time: 6-12