Huddersfield 6-20 Wigan

Wigan Warriors returned to the top of the table at the expense of Huddersfield Giants after a hard-fought win at the Galpharm stadium.

The visitors, without both Joel and Sam Tomkins due to suspension, got off to the best possible start when half-back Thomas Leuluai kicked to the corner for Josh Charnley who collected – and then offloaded – for Sean O’Loughlin to saunter in after just three minutes.

A wonderful passing move from Huddersfield released Leroy Cudjoe. Having penetrated the Wigan defensive line he opted to pass to wing Jamie Simpson on the last tackle – who was bundled into touch. An inside pass to the supporting Scott Grix was perhaps the more likely try scoring option.

Amos Roberts‘ miss pass found Darrell Goulding and the wing chipped inside to beat full-back Grix. However the ball evaded the chasing Roberts; bobbling beyond the dead ball line and out of play.

Luke Robinson marked his comeback with a try immediately after coming off the bench. Danny Brough‘s high bomb was perfectly placed, dropping just underneath the crossbar, forcing Roberts to leave it to bounce. A scramble ensued and Robinson was on hand to ground the loose ball. Robinson was impressive throughout orchestrating proceedings from the play-the-ball area.

The Giants’ kicking game continued to cause Wigan problems after drawing level. Another high bomb was fumbled by Roberts but the full back managed to stay out of his own in-goal area amidst Huddersfield pressure. Brough then almost put Cudjoe in to score before having a try disallowed after his high kick was left by Roberts but knocked on by a Huddersfield man.

Whilst Huddersfield deployed high kicks that troubled Roberts, Wigan’s decision to chip to the flank paid dividends once more. At the start of the second half, O’Loughlin drifted a kick towards Charnley. He again got the better of Jamie Simpson and dived over to score in the corner.

The Giants were unable to capitalise on a spell of sustained possession near the Wigan try line. After moving the ball from one wing to the other, Cudjoe’s pass was judged to have been knocked forward upon Simpson gathering possession. Moments later, Roberts had a try disallowed for obstruction in what proved to be a busy evening for the video referee.

Huddersfield endeavoured to find the chink in the Warriors’ defensive armour but the second half showed no apparent weakness. Having struggled with the high kicks in the first half, Roberts mopped up any kicks in behind the line well. The forwards – Andy Coley and Harrison Hansen in particular – absorbed the carries from their opposite numbers yet refused to miss a tackle.

Charnley added two important penalties; one to give Warriors the lead just before half-time, the other to extend the lead with just six minutes to go. He then settled proceedings as he scampered down the touchline and passed inside to Ryan Hoffman who dived over to seal the win.

Huddersfield: Grix, Hodgson, Cudjoe, Wardle, Simpson, Brown, Brough, Mason, Lunt, Gilmour, Faalogo, Griffin, O’Donnell. Subs: Crabtree, Robinson, Horne, Faiumu

Tries: Robinson 22

Goals: Brough 22

Wigan: Roberts, Goulding, Marsh, Carmont, Charnley, O’Loughlin, Leuluai, Coley, McIlorum, Prescott, Hoffman, Hansen, Farrell. Subs: Lima, Mossop, Tuson, Mellor

Tries: O’Loughlin 3, Charnley 43, Hoffman 78

Goals: Charnley 3, 39, 74, 78

Referee: Ben Thaler

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