Wigan secure home semi-final with ugly win at Huddersfield

Drew Darbyshire

Wigan sealed a home semi-final thanks to a scrappy 13-6 win over Huddersfield.

The Warriors will play at the DW Stadium in the semi-final play-offs in two weeks’ time. As the current Super 8s table stands, Wigan will host third-placed Castleford Tigers for a place in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Simon Woolford made three changes to his Huddersfield outfit that lost to Castleford Tigers last week. Olly Russell, Alex Mellor and Colton Roche came in for Jordan Turner, Jake Wardle and Daniel Smith.

Wigan coach Shaun Wane made two changes to his side that beat Warrington Wolves last time out. Joe Greenwood and Josh Woods replaced Willie Isa and Tommy Leuluai.

Tom Davies nearly went over for Wigan in the opening minutes after chasing down a George Williams grubber, but the effort was ruled out by the video referee due to Jordan Rankin knocking the ball dead.

Huddersfield youngster Russell was caught holding on for too long in the tackle early on and Wigan opted to go for goal. Sam Tomkins added the penalty goal to edge his side into an early 2-0 lead.

Morgan Escare scored the first try of the game in the 16thminute. The France international sold the Giants a sweet dummy and bust a challenge from Mellor to touch down.

Greenwood crashed over the line for Wigan but it was chalked off by the video referee because he was held up.

And Matty English was also denied by the video referee late on in the first half. Video evidence showed Escare just managing to get his hand underneath the ball. Wigan were 6-0 to the good at half-time.

The start to the second half was a slow burner to say the least. Both sides came up with a number of handling errors, with the pouring rain at the John Smith’s Stadium proving to be a big factor.

Wane’s men extended their lead on the hour mark as Escare added a drop-goal from 30 metres out.

Davies was again denied a try by the video referee in a carbon copy of his effort in the first period.

Kruise Leeming brought the hosts right back into the game with just nine minutes left on the clock. He scooted from dummy half to get in between Greenwood and Escare and reach over. Danny Brough converted and there was just one point in it.

The Giants played with 12 men for the last four minutes though after Brough was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Escare.

Oliver Gildart sealed the win for Wigan in the dying embers as he darted onto a grubber from Williams. Tomkins added the extras and sealed a 13-6 win for the Warriors in their penultimate game of the Super 8s.

Huddersfield: Gaskell; Rankin, Mellor, Mamo, I Senior; Russell, Brough; Lawrence, O’Brien, Matagi, Ta’ai, Roberts, Hinchcliffe. Subs: Leeming, Clough, English, Roche.

Wigan: Escare; Manfredi, Gildart, Sarginson, Davies; Williams, Tomkins; Clubb, Powell, Navarrete, Greenwood, Bateman, Sutton. Subs: Hamlin, Partington, Woods, Tautai.

Starman: Morgan Escare was brilliant for Wigan. He was a constant threat for the Huddersfield defence and won a number of penalties for his side.

Attendance: 4,197