Huddersfield would have won the Challenge Cup final had prop Chris Hill not limped off with an injury midway through the first half, according to Giants legend Eorl Crabtree.
Veteran Hill underlined his growing claims for an England recall with an outstanding start to the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before being forced off the field.
The Giants still enjoyed long spells of domination and despite four missed kicks from Tui Lolohea they led throughout until Wigan struck to win it three minutes from time when Liam Marshall pounced to touch down Harry Smith’s precision kick into the corner.
And Crabtree, who played in the 2006 and 2009 Challenge Cup Finals for Huddersfield, believes Wigan may not have gone on to win the game if the influential Hill had stayed on the field.
Eorl Crabtree praises Chris Hill influence
“If Chris Hill is fit for 80 minutes then I have no doubt Huddersfield win,” Crabtree told this week’s Love Rugby League Podcast.
“The way he started, him and Oliver Wilson who has been a standout player. That was one of the best spells I have ever seen him have. If he stays on the game is different.
“The first 20 minutes Hill was unbelievable. Unfortunately the sniper got his calf from the stands and that was him done.
“As a prop in the game I’d be aiming for 100 metres. If you get 100 metres plus then you’ve had a belting game gaining yards. Hill made 110 in 20 minutes, that is unreal, the effort was outstanding. If he had stayed on I genuinely believe it would have been a different game.
“But we adapted, and recovered from it and looked really good. Chris McQueen was a warrior throughout and it was a shame he was on the losing side.”
Huddersfield look to bounce back from the disappointment when they face Catalans Dragons in France on Friday night.