|Betfred Super League|
|Wigan (0) 6|
|Try: Escare Goal: Hardaker|
|Huddersfield (6) 14|
|Tries: Leeming, Wardle Goals: Gaskell 3|
Wigan slumped to their fourth Super League defeat in five games as they were beaten at home by Huddersfield.
Kruise Leeming and Joe Wardle scored the tries to maintain the Super League champions’ poor start to the season.
The Giants stay bottom despite ending a nine-game losing run with a first win at the DW Stadium in five years, level on points with Leeds and Wigan.
Morgan Escare got Wigan’s lone try to tie it at 6-6, but Lee Gaskell added a penalty, then improved Wardle’s try.
After Leeming’s 11th-minute try, Wigan were always second best in a first half in which the Giants’ dominance was summed up by the hosts having to make four first-half goal-line drop-outs.
To add to their woes, winger Liam Marshall was left hobbling and they lost his fellow winger Dom Manfridi on the stroke of half-time with two lost teeth and concussion, on his first start since the Grand Final win over Warrington at Old Trafford in October.
There was hope 11 minutes into the second half when Wigan levelled with their one class moment of the night.
Tommy Leuluai stabbed a clever kick through a gap 25 yards out early in the set, and Escare was first there to collect on the goal-line and gallop round unimpeded under the posts to allow Zak Hardaker to add the extras.
But the game changed again in Huddersfield’s favour on 58 minutes when forward Taulima Tautai kicked out at Ukuma Ta’ai while lying on the ground.
It meant extended treatment for Ta’ai, a yellow card for Tautai and a second goal for St Helens old boy Gaskell.
And victory was effectively sealed when, making use of their man advantage, Wardle crashed over from close range 16 minutes from time. But it came at a cost with the loss of loose forward Aaron Murphy, who may now miss the next few weeks after suffering a medial knee injury.
Defeat for Wigan would have left them bottom were it not for their original two-point deduction for salary cap breaches being lifted and suspended until March 2020.
Wigan coach Adrian Lam:
“I’m a bit rattled really. They looked like a shell of their former selves. We are training well, but we just can’t put a finger on it. I’m just a bit lost at the moment.
“They look like they don’t have confidence. We are making basic errors, like a simple pass and catch which is uncharacteristic of them. Three simple drop balls with no pressure. That’s an attitude problem.
“Maybe there is some attitude that they think we deserve to win without having the effort that comes with it, I don’t know. They are emotionally drained from the (Sydney) Roosters game,
“It’s not good. We also lost both wingers and we were down to one substitute at the end, so there are a few more injuries to take into consideration as well.”
Huddersfield head coach Simon Woolford told BBC West Yorkshire Sport:
“We should have taken a couple more chances but any win’s a good win. They’ve been hard to come by.
“It was only when Wigan had that try disallowed with a minute left that I really felt comfortable.
“Kruise Leeming is a fantastic plus for us. He’s got a long career ahead of him at nine but playing a bit at 13 when Aaron Murphy went off adds another string to his bow.
“Aaron’s picked up a medial injury which is disappointing. He was outstanding defensively. It doesn’t matter where you play Murph, he’ll do a job for you. He’s going to be a big loss for us.”
Wigan: Hardaker; Manfredi, Hankinson, Gildart, Marshall; Williams, Leuluai; Clubb, Powell, Flower, Isa, Paisley, O’Loughlin.
Interchanges: Bullock, Tautai, Hamlin, Escare.
Sin-bin: Tautai (58)
Huddersfield: McIntosh; McGillvary, Turner, Joe Wardle, Uate; Gaskell, Frawley; Ikahihifo, Leeming, Ta’ai, Jake Wardle, Mellor, Murphy.
Interchanges: O’Brien, Roberts, Matagi, Lawrence.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL).