Carmont secures win for Warriors

A last minute try by George Carmont snatched Wigan an entertaining 28-24 victory at Huddersfield.

Wigan had not led until the final minute, when a surging mid-field break from captain Sean O'Loughlin and an overhead pass to the supporting Carmont ensured their first game of 2009 ended in victory.

It delighted the travelling fans in the 3,452 crowd, and the late drama mirrored the Super League game at the same venue a year earlier.

Australian hooker Mark Riddell scored two tries for the Warriors, who battled back from 18-4 down at half-time.

Riddell's first try – his debut touchdown for the Warriors - was one of the few positives for Wigan in a scrappy first-half in which Huddersfield scored four tries - three of those coming while prop Stuart Fielden was in the sin-bin.

Brian Noble named a strong line-up for their second pre-season friendly, with winger Amos Roberts – a recruit from Sydney Roosters on a four-year deal – the only major absentee.

He is recovering from hand surgery and will not be fit until next month.

Kiwi Thomas Leuluai and fellow World Cup players Pat Richards, George Carmont, Harrison Hansen and Gareth Hock were included in the starting line-up.

The early exchanges were – unsurprisingly after a long lay-off – untidy, and played out mainly in Wigan's half. But the aggressive defensive displays compensated for the shortage of quality, with fans from both sides applauding numerous big hits, particularly from the fired-up Gareth Hock.

Huddersfield include new signing and one-time Wigan target Brett Hodgson, as well as five ex-Warriors players in their starting line-up – David Hodgson, Martin Aspinwall, Kevin Brown, Luke Robinson and Stephen Wild.

And it was two of those, Brown and Wild, who carved out the first try in the 15th minute for loose forward Simon Finnigan. Brett Hodgson missed with a relatively simple conversion attempt, keeping it 4-0 to the home side.

That lead was soon cancelled out, as the Giants' indiscipline gifted the visitors good field position, and Australian hooker Riddell bulldozed over from close range. Pat Richards also missed a relatively easy goal-attempt.

Tempers continued to flare and, when Fielden was sin-binned for tackling Luke Robinson late, the Giants wasted no time in taking advantage of their numerical advantage as David Hodgson crossed in the corner.

His namesake Brett again missed the conversion, making it 8-4 to the home side. Brett Hodgson showed his class minutes later, sending winger Michael Lawrence over for a try on the half-hour mark with a sublime pass, and his conversion made it 14-4.

Wigan's indiscipline – they conceded seven penalties in 35 minutes – continued to cost them, and while still down to 12 men the Giants went further ahead when Paul Whatuira crossed in the corner from a Luke Robinson cross-field kick to make it 18-4.

And only some desperate scrambling defence kept out Huddersfield after a dashing break down the touchline by Brown.

The Giants' new coach Nathan Brown had his players out on the pitch for part of the half-time break to practice their ball handling.

But a wayward pass early in the second-half was plucked out of the air by Richards, and he raced in from the halfway for a try he converted to close the gap to eight points. And in the 50th minute, Leuluai weaved through the Giants defence to score a try that Richards bettered to make it 18-16.

Both sides had good chances to score, with Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin prevented from grounding the ball after diving over the try-line.

With 10 minutes to go, Huddersfield's Danny Kirmond dashed through Wigan's defence to touch down, Brett Hodgson's conversion edging them 24-16 ahead.

Noble replaced stand-off Smith with academy product Sam Tomkins, and Wigan restored a two-point deficit when Riddell scored another short-range try which Richards converted.

The game seemed destined to end in defeat for Wigan but a desperate rally saw O'Loughlin dash towards the line and, though the Giants' defence brought him down, his audacious pass was collected by Carmont, who raced over the victory-grabbing score.

The Warriors, who beat Warrington in a friendly on December 28, face Leigh next Sunday before they start Super League XIV with a home game against Wakefield on February 8.

Huddersfield: B Hodgson; D Hodgson, Lawrence, Whatuira, Aspinwall; Brown, Robinson; Griffin, Moore, Mason, Raleigh, Wild, Finnigan. Subs: Cudjoe, Faiumu, Walsh, Lunt, Jackson, Crabtree, Kirmond.

Wigan: Mathers; Phelps, Goulding, Carmont, Richards; Smith, Leuluai; Fielden, Riddell, Paleaaesina, Hock, Bailey, O'Loughlin. Subs: J Tomkins, Coley, Hansen, McIlorum, O'Carroll, Pryce, Prescott, S Tomkins.

See Tuesday's Wigan Observer for match pictures and reaction.