Huddersfield Giants 22 Wigan Warriors 38

Wigan turned on the style as they roared to a third successive victory - and thrust themselves firmly into the play-offs picture.

Friday, 21st June 2019, 9:35 pm
Updated Friday, 21st June 2019, 10:35 pm
Willie Isa in action at Huddersfield

They are now level on points with fifth-placed Salford and just two points behind Catalans, in fourth, after an emphatic victory at the John Smith's Stadium.

Adrian Lam's side may have scraped it against Hull KR and been scrappy at Leeds, but this was a much more polished display.

They were good value for their 18-12 lead at the break and pleasingly, they maintained their tempo and composure to twist the knife.

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There were six different try-scorers while Chris Hankinson maintained his fine form with the boot, striking seven goals from nine attempts.

Sean O'Loughlin led from the front and he was supported by a stellar support cast, including Liam Farrell, Sam Powell and Zak Hardaker.

Collectively, they completed their sets well and George Williams added some sparkle to an attack which was varied and energetic.

As expected, Hardaker and Joe Greenwood returned from injury - Joe Bullock was squeezed out of the side for the first time this year.

Huddersfield, smarting from a 38-2 humbling at St Helens the previous round, beat Wigan 14-6 at the DW earlier this year.

The sides had racked up more points than than by half-time, when the visitors led 18-12.

In the seventh minute, a smooth attack finished with Sean O'Loughlin putting Chris Hankinson through a gap.

With Hardaker returning from a hamstring injury, Hankinson retained the goal-kicking duties and tagged on the extras.

Five minutes later, the Giants levelled when Louis Senior broke beyond Joe Burgess and passed inside to the supporting Sam Hewett. Lee Gaskell converted.

But Wigan had retaken the lead by the quarter-mark after O'Loughlin charged onto Powell's dummy-half pass and plunged the ball down. Hankinson maintained his 100 per cent success rate.

A penalty piggybacked the hosts down field but they couldn't penetrate the Warriors defence during three successive sets.

And Lam's side countered splendidly on half-hour, George Williams - hailed by Wayne Bennett this week as one of the world's best players - crabbed across the line to feed Hankinson, who sent Liam Marshall skipping over to make it 18-6.

Another penalty eased Huddersfield down the pitch and despite Thomas Leuluai defusing one attack with a bone-rattling shot on Matt Frawley, the Giants halfback forced his way through a crowded defence moments later.

Gaskell's goal pruned Wigan's lead to six points.

But a dream start to the second-half saw Burgess angle over after Hardaker had pinnballed off two defenders to make it 22-12.

Hankinson's touchline attempt was just wide though a 40m penalty from the next set nudged them further ahead.

Jarrod Sammut was introduced before the hour-mark - the substitute didn't get on at Leeds a week ago - as Wigan tightened their grip on the contest when Leuluai darted over. Hankinson tagged on the extras and a subsequent penalty to make it 32-12.

And Williams piled on the misery for the hosts, jinking his way over from short range to blow their lead out to 38-12.

Late tries by Louis Senior and Jordan Turner flattered the scoreline before an all-in melee resulted in Ukuma Ta'ai and Willie Isa being sinbinned.

Wigan return to the DW Stadium next Friday to face Salford.

Huddersfield: McIntosh; I Senior, Turner, Murphy, L Senior; Gaskell, Frawley; Clough, O'Brien, Matagi, Roberts, Mellor, English. Subs: Leeming, Hewitt, Ikahihifo, Ta'ai

Wigan: Hardaker; Marshall, Hankinson, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Leuluai; Clubb, Powell, Navarrete, Isa, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Subs: Smithies, Sammut, Partington, Greenwood

Referee: Marcus Griffiths

Half-time: 12-18

Attendance: 5,578