Wane: We won ugly... we need to improve

Josh Charnley celebrates his winning try
Josh Charnley celebrates his winning try

SHAUN Wane admits they will need to make improvements this week after watching his side stumble to an 18-13 win at injury-hit Huddersfield.

But he was pleased with the scrappy victory - and aspects of their performance - ahead of their World Club Series showdown with Brisbane Broncos.

Dom Manfredi crosses in the corner

Dom Manfredi crosses in the corner

Wigan needed a Josh Charnley try with four minutes to go to secure the result after the Giants had given them a huge scare.

Wane said: “It was a case of job done, we played ugly and won.

“I understand we need to improve for next week - some of our finishing was poor.

“Our skill level was sloppy at times, we could have been smarter. But we can take some credit from the fact we played poorly and got the win, so we showed some toughness.

“Huddersfield controlled the ball, and the referee allowed them to do that.

“Credit to them, they played with some guts.”

Huddersfield - missing eight players - appeared to be heading for a memorable 13-12 victory after Jamie Ellis’ 71st minute drop-goal had nudged them in front.

But Wigan held their nerve to allow Charnley to seal the win.

Wane admits the clash against Brisbane - and Huddersfield’s well-documented injury woes - may have affected his players.

“They’re all excited about next week and they did things they wouldn’t normally do,” he said.

“Everyone has read about their injuries - we were down a few numbers as well - but so many people mentioned (Huddersfield’s injuries), it’s human nature that it was in their minds.”

George Williams will be fit to play next week after being rested with a minor shoulder injury.

“I was just glad to get the two points, Huddersfield played really well and they got some calls,” he added. “We still scored 18 points, so there are positives.”

This was Wigan’s sixth successive victory against the Giants, but Paul Anderson’s men deserve praise for a whole-hearted display.

For Warriors, it certainly wasn’t a complete display and they will need to raise their performance if they are to trouble the Broncos next week.

Their attack misfired, they struggled to dominate down the middle and their discipline was poor. But encouragingly, they came out of the wrestle with the victory - and that in itself should lift them heading into this week.

Sam Powell was promoted to the starting line-up to replace George Williams at No.6 - he was rested as a precaution - and Greg Burke marking his 23rd birthday with his first Warriors appearance in 18 months.

Despite their inexperience on the Giants’ left side, it was their right-side combination of Leroy Cudjoe and Jermaine McGillvary - both England internationals - which Wigan targeted more.

In the 23rd minute fans from both clubs applauded to pay tribute to Robinson - squad no.23. And just a minute later, the Giants supporters were cheering again when an attack finished with McGillvary collecting Jamie Ellis’ superb looping ball to break the deadlock.

Ellis tagged on the conversion from the touchline to make it 6-0.

Wane had said he wanted to improve their attacking in the final third, following the 12-6 win against Catalans on the opening day, but there was little evidence of that before the break.

Still, they had their chances, most notably when Anthony Gelling spun out of a tackle close to the line only to drop the ball over the line under traffic.

They started the second-half with greater urgency, with John Bateman eating up ground down the middle, and got their reward in the 44th minute when Sarginson palmed down Smith’s kick towards the line, and Liam Farrell scooped up to cross. Smith’s goal locked the scoreline at 6-6.

O’Loughlin returned for his second spell and gave the defence more starch, but it was breached by Leeming’s dissecting kick in the 55th minute which was pounced on by Jake Connor - only for the video referee to rule out a try.

And a minute later the game took a fresh complexion as Wigan marched down field and went ahead themselves. They earned a repeat set when the Giants failed to deal with Smith’s towering kick and, from the restart, Gelling dropped a basketball pass for Dom Manfredi to touch down. Smith added the conversion from the sidelines to put them 12-6 ahead going into the final quarter.

Gelling’s needless, wayward pass inside his own half offered the Giants a chance to press for an equaliser - which they took through debutant Jamie Foster in the corner.

Ellis missed with the conversion but, moments later, slotted a penalty to draw the score level 12-12.

He then nudged his side ahead with a drop-goal.

But Wigan weren’t done. And when Gelling’s burst took them close to the Giants’ line, a sweeping move finished with O’Loughlin feeding Charnley, and the winger stepped beyond McGillvary to score. Smith again added a conversion from the sidelines to make it 18-13 with only two minutes to go.

Huddersfield: Murphy; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wood, Foster; Connor, Ellis; Rapira, Hinchcliffe, Johnson, Ta’ai, Lawrence, Patrick. Subs: Smith, Leeming, Mason, Roberts.

Wigan: Tierney; Charnley, Gelling, Sarginson, Manfredi; Powell, Smith; Flower, McIlorum, O’Loughlin, Farrell, Isa, Bateman. Subs: Clubb, Tautai, Sutton, Burke.

Referee: Phil Bentham

Half-time: 6-0.

Attendance: 5,912

Starman: Matty Smith