Wigan Warriors 48, Huddersfield Giants 10
Wigan sharpened the knives ahead of next week's derby with a complete display and a comprehensive victory.
They ruthlessly tore Huddersfield apart on a satisfying night at the DW Stadium to finish with nine tries, including five in the first-half.Two of those were scored by strong-running Tom Davies against the same side he made his senior debut against little more than a year ago.The victory kept up the heat on early pace-setters St Helens, who will host a hugely-anticipated Good Friday derby in seven days’ time.Wigan will head over Billinge Hill full of confidence after this season-best display.Sam Tomkins, celebrating his 29th birthday, added some polish to Wigan’s crisp attacks, and kicked five goals from six attempts before being rested midway through the second-half.There were strong performances throughout the side - including John Bateman, Tom Davies, Ben Flower and Ryan Sutton - but the most pleasing part was the team cohesion.They played with an energy, pace and vibrancy which was wonderful to see; the aggression of their defence bettered only by the style of their attack.These two sides fought out two draws last season but after four wins from their first five matches, the Warriors fans - and coach Wane - expected a different outcome.Without Jake Mamo, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Leroy Cudjoe - arguable three of their four best players - Huddersfield were devoid of confidence and ideas.Wigan, by contrast, were well rested and in good health. Joel Tomkins replaced Frenchman Romain Navarrete in the only change to the side which beat Wakefield last time out.Perhaps one niggling pre-match concern was whether next week’s derby would prove a distraction. Wigan wasted little time in easing those doubts.They took less than two minutes to get off the mark, Davies taking Sam Tomkins’ wonderful cut-out pass and showing the balance and power to go over. Huddersfield had a half-chance moments later, but it was quickly snuffed out by Tony Clubb in his 250th top-level game.England winger Jermaine McGillvary picked off a forced-pass to race away for an unconverted try in the eighth-minute try.But that was as good as it got for the visitors, who were unable to crack Wigan’s tigerish, well-marshalled defence.After absorbing some blows, Wigan ramped up the intensity and Davies touched down his second try from Sam Powell’s measured chip. Oliver Gildart soon finished off a crisp, left-side shift minutes later to make it 16-4.Wane had kept Huddersfield guessing about where he would play Morgan Escare when he was introduced; the Frenchman again slotted into the halves, allowing Tomkins to remain at full-back until being rested.Wigan were in full control and Joe Burgess, who ran in a hat-trick in his last outing, swept over for Wigan’s fourth-try just after the half-hour mark which made it 22-4.There were rare spells when the visitors worked their way into good position but they never really troubled the hosts, who registered a fifth try before half-time when Tomkins’ jinking run and stabbed kick led to John Bateman muscling over.McGillvary limped off early in the second-half, a blow for the Giants who had earlier lost Sam Wood to injury. But they were never going to work their way back into this contest. George Williams’ left-foot step weaved a passage to the line to make it 34-4 before Sutton bulldozed over for a try. Escare took over the goal-kicking duties and poked Wigan to the 40-point mark.Willie Isa punished a crumbling defence and Burgess crossed in the corner, sandwiching a Ryan Hinchcliffe effort which was scant consolation.
Wigan: S Tomkins; Davies, Bateman, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Isa, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Subs: J Tomkins, Sutton, Tautai, Escare.
Huddersfield: Rankin; McGillvary, Turner, Wood, Murphy; Gaskell, Brough; Ta'ai, Leeming, Clough, Lawrence, Ferguson, Hinchcliffe. Subs: Smith, Walne, O'Brien, Mellor.
Referee: S Mikalauskas
Starman: Tom Davies