Saturday, 14 September 2013

Giants Dwarfed By Warriors

Wigan secured a safe passage to the final week of the play-offs and put themselves within touching distance of the Grand Final with a pulsating win over League Leaders Huddersfield.

Huddersfield went into the tie the inform team and at full strength while Wigan were missing their mercurial captain Sean O'Loughlin and star centre Darrell Goulding as they hoped to halt a run of four league defeats.

The Giants got off to a brilliant start in the pouring rain as they forced Wigan to concede two goal line dropouts inside four minutes and the pressure paid off as a swift shimmy by Brough saw him slice the Warriors defence and race clear to open the scoring which he increased by converting successfully for a 6-0 lead.

Wigan needed to pull back with the rainfall increasing and had a great chance minutes later as Flower sped down the middle and a grubber kick forced a dropout for the Giants but from the resulting kick off, Wigan wasted the chance with a forward pass.

Wigan got lucky in the 24th minute as quick hands saw Gelling in space down the right and he threw a pass to Charnley who slid over the line for a staggering 40th try of the season and Richards hit a superb conversion to level the game at 6 all.

Huddersfield fell behind after the kick off went out on the full and the confident Richards selected to kick for goal from halfway and did so spectacularly to give Wigan a 6-8 lead but their own indiscipline cost the Warriors as Brough kicked a penalty to level at 8 all with a minute remaining of the first half.

Wigan started the second period with heavy pressure after receiving from the kick off as they forced three successive drop outs hoping Huddersfield's defence would crack and see them increase their lead but the defence held firm.

However, the pressure soon paid off as Green and Gelling combined to send Charnley over for a record breaking 41st try of the season  in the 55th minute and another stunning conversion from Richards put his side 8-14 in front.

Huddersfield needed something special to break open a Wigan defence that had held firm since Brough's early try but their attacks were nullified as the defence stayed strong but their hopes stuttered as Smith swept over a drop goal for Wigan with 14 to go to open up a seven point lead.

The lead increased to 13 and all but sealed a win for Wigan as Green raced clear for an amazing try as he spied a gap in the tiring Giants defence and took advantage to send the travelling fans into a deafening roar of celebration which increased as Richards sent over a third successive kick and Wigan led 8-21.

The final minutes saw the Wigan fans berating their opponents by singing ' We can see you sneaking out' a spin on the chant that the Giants fans had used in their win at Wigan last month and their mood hit rock bottom at the sound of the hooter as Smith rubbed salt in the wound by kicking an audacious drop goal to seal a 8-22 win and send Wigan through to a home tie in week three and only a win away from a trip to Old Trafford for the second time in four years.

An amazing night and atmosphere that I was proud to be part of as Wigan again proved to be the masters when it comes to a rainy surface just like they had at Wembley, to honest I think the nerves got to Hudds having been League Leaders but as a Warrior, I know winning the LLS can be a curse as we found last year in club-calling  Leeds who went on to become champions after beating us 13-12 in the semi final.

 On a final note, I was shocked that Huddersfield failed to attract a decent crowd for such a big game as an attendance of about 7,000 even on a Thursday is poor when it was rumoured that we took 2,000 up to Huddersfield for the game.