Champions Wigan kick-off Super League season with defeat

Champions Wigan started life without Sam Tomkins and the new Super League season with a 24-8 defeat to last year’s minor premiers Huddersfield.

Shaun Wane’s men, who lost Sean O’Loughlin in the warm-up to a thigh injury, offered very little in a game brought forward to accommodate their trip to Australia to face Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge, which will seem an increasingly daunting prospect after this display.

Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary ran in a hat-trick inside 53 minutes, and although the Warriors were offered a little hope due to the wayward first half goalkicking of Danny Brough, they never really threatened to win the match.

It took six minutes for Huddersfield to get the first try of the season, Brett Ferres pouncing from Aaron Murphy‘s low kick.

Another grubber kick, this time from Shaun Lunt, set up a try on the other wing for McGillvary on 18 minutes, with both tries given after being analysed by Sky Sports’ new video referee set-up.

A Brough 40/20 almost laid the platform for a third try, with the reigning Man of Steel himself going close on the left, but it was down the right where they were to cross the whitewash again, McGillvary presented with a walk-in.

Three missed conversions meant the Warriors were only 12-0 down at the break, despite a flat performance by their standards, and they worked their way back in to the game in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Centre Dan Sarginson, making his debut after signing from London, put Iain Thornley away to finish superbly in the corner.

Youngster Joe Burgess, on the right wing, impressed with a good finish of his own under pressure from two defenders to bring Wigan back to 12-8, but just as their momentum seemed to be building, Huddersfield managed to gather the ball back from their own kick-off to break the charge.

That enabled Huddersfield to settle, and McGillvary grabbed his hat-trick try to kill off the Wigan comeback before it had really got going.

The final quarter passed by with little threat from the Warriors, although Matt Bowen was lucky to see through the entireity of his debut, placed on report for a late and high shot on Scott Grix.

Grix had the last laugh, completing the scoring by finishing off a blistering break by Brough.

 

Wigan: Bowen, Burgess, Goulding, Sarginson, Thornley, Green, Smith, Taylor, Powell, Pettybourne, Clubb, Farrell, Flower. Interchanges: McIlorum, Hughes, Crosby, Dudson.

Tries: Thornley (46), Burgess (52).

Huddersfield: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Robinson, Crabtree, Lunt, Kaufusi, Ferres, Patrick, Bailey. Interchanges: Kopczak, Lawrence, Ta’ai, Wood.

Tries: Ferres (6), McGillvary (18, 29, 54), Grix (73). Goals: Brough 2/2

Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan

Attendance: 16,240

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