Huddersfield Giants 22 Wigan Warriors 38: Five things we learned
Five things we learned from Wigan's 38-22 victory at Huddersfield...
1. Chris Hankinson was not satisfied with scrappy wins at Leeds and Hull KR.
"We're winning by small margins - we want to go out and smash a team," he said during the week. "It will click - I can feel it."
He was right. Wigan were in control from start to finish as they scored six tries with a slick, well-balanced, composed and energetic display. Sean O'Loughlin was outstanding but it was no one man show, with other notable contributions from Liam Farrell, Sam Powell, Zak Hardaker, George Williams, Hankinson... the list goes on.
The 22 point against makes their defence look leaky but Huddersfield posted two late tries very late on - generally, Wigan's goal-line defence was excellent. And mentioning Hankinson...
2. Will he become Wigan's No.1 goal-kicker?
He backed up his five from five at Leeds with seven from nine at Huddersfield - Zak Hardaker was protecting his hamstring after a recent injury. Hankinson scored one of the six tries and laid on another for Liam Marshall.
As an aside, the game had an ugly finish with an all-in melee sparked by a confrontation involving Morgan Smithies - the teenager simply does not back down from any challenge; Willie Isa was sinbinned - he remonstrated with the referee before Dr Chris Brookes guided him off the pitch.
3. Wigan are in the top-half of the table after a third straight win.
The fact they are tied with fifth-placed Salford makes their return to the DW - after six weeks on the road - to face Ian Watson's outfit all the more intriguing. Depending on the outcome of Catalans-Hull FC later, Wigan could move fourth with victory.
Whisper it quietly, only St Helens have won more games over the last eight rounds; even the most pessimistic Warriors fan must be looking up, rather than other their shoulder, now.
4. Joe Bullock missed out for the first time, with Adrian Lam explaining a spell on ice may do him good after playing far more minutes, and matches, than anyone anticipated by this point.
Morgan Escare and Jake Shorrocks also missed out and Dan Sarginson will be fit next week. While many sides are complaining about their injury woes, Lam appears to have genuine competition - despite the absence of Taulima Tautai as the club investigate his drink-drive conviction.
5. The Super League table is to tight that a couple of losses has dragged Huddersfield into the relegation scrap.
They are level with London Broncos on 14 points, with Hull KR and Leeds both on 12. Coach Simon Woolford was damning with his assessment of his side, saying: "The desire from our team was, at best, questionable." The Giants face Wakefield, another side on the slide, this Friday.