Wigan Warriors 6 Huddersfield Giants 14: Five things we learned

Five things we learned from Wigan's 14-6 defeat to Huddersfield at the DW Stadium...

Saturday, 9th March 2019, 7:28 am
Updated Saturday, 9th March 2019, 8:38 am
Zak Hardaker's break was the highlight of the first-half

1. Wigan were "a shell of themselves" - and that was Adrian Lam's assessment.

Many fans were far more critical, including those in the small crowd (it seemed down on the 10,114 given) who booed a dismal display at the DW Stadium.

If Wigan looked to be making progress over the first three weeks, they have gone backwards in the three weeks since.

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They're not getting battered but too many players are down on their own standard - and collectively? Well...

2. Wigan are not only lacking confidence, but an attacking cutting edge.

They made three or four spills without any pressure applied, they conceded soft penalties, Taulima Tautai was sinbinned and - when they did complete their sets - they seemed out-of-sync and finished far too many with poor kicks.

Huddersfield, who had yet to win this year, deserve some praise for their spirited effort but Lam lamented that only in the last few minutes did they begin to play to the style they have been practicing.

3. Having shown promising signs against St Helens and Sydney Roosters - sandwiching a win against Leeds - the big question about this form slump is 'why?'

And to that, Lam was at a loss.

"I can't put my finger on it," he said. "Go and ask the players, they can't put their finger on it at the moment. We look a bit lost on the field."

He said there wasn't a lack of effort, but "the space between the ears", he said. "At times we don't have the smarts in us."

4. These are early days, of course, but history doesn't offer a great deal of optimism.

The last time Wigan lost all five of their opening league games they were relegated, and the last time they lost four of five - like this year - was back in 2006, a dramatic campaign which saw them threatened with relegation before pulling clear.

Friday's trip to Warrington had been billed as a Grand Final rematch but, given Warriors' fortunes, it has taken on a different context.

5. Let's finish on a positive.

Gabe Hamlin could leave the pitch with his head held high, Joe Bullock carried the ball strongly and emergency-winger Escare redeemed an erratic display at London the week earlier.

And while Lam lost wingers Dom Manfredi and Liam Marshall to injury, the former has not been ruled out of the Wolves clash, while Tom Davies is waiting in the wings and Joe Burgess is close to a return.

Elsewhere, Dan Sarginson (thigh) and Joe Greenwood (concussion) may also be back.

And if Lam wants to mix-up his halfback options, Jarrod Sammut didn't figure against the Giants, while Jake Shorrocks has yet to make an appearance this season.