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Just six days after their stunning victory over the Penrith Panthers to become the World Club Champions, the Wigan Warriors were running out onto the turf of the DW Stadium for their third-round Super League encounter with the Huddersfield Giants.

The Giants were hoping that the World Champions would be suffering from a hangover and that they would be able to smash and grab two points to lift them level with the top of the table, but Matty Peet spent the week trying to keep his team's feet on the ground and emphasise the importance of the win to keep them at the top end of the table.

Wigan were clear favourites with the bookies, handicapped twelve points on the coupon, and the DW is not a happy hunting ground for the Giants who last tasted victory as far back as round five in 2018.

The sides were evenly matched in the opening exchanges but on eleven minutes a delightful step inside from Liam Marshall outfoxed the Giants defence for the free-scoring winger to walk over the line for the opening score. Harry Smith added the conversion for a 6-0 lead.

Four minutes later and the Cherry and Whites were in again as Bevan French took an inside pass from Jai Field after a nice passing move to canter home from twenty metres. Smith added the conversion to extend the lead to 12-0.

Adam Milner was sin binned on eighteen for a low force head contact, the Giants woes increasing.

The third try came on twenty-one, again Marshall was in the perfect position to take the pass and run in down the left wing to ground in the corner. Smith was on target again from the touchline which saw Wigan now scoring at almost a point a minute.

It took thirty-two minutes for the Giants to register their first points as Elliot Wallis took a perfectly flighted pass from Adam Clune to go ten metres down the wing and dive over in the corner. Ollie Russell was right of the uprights with his conversion attempt.

Adam Keighran interfered to stop a Giants twenty metre restart in thirty-nine and was shown a yellow card by the referee, Wigan would play the first ten minutes of the second half with a man short.

It was the perfect start to the second half for the Giants after Kevin Naiqama somehow managed to smuggle the ball to Adam Swift in the tackle, the winger scoring while airborne in the corner. Russell was on target with the conversion and with forty-two on the clock the Giants trailed by just eight points.

The hope was quickly extinguished as Marshall completed his hat-trick, again grounding in the corner with some spectacle. Smith was unable to find his target with the conversion, twelve points between the sides.

After Wigan turned defence into attack on sixty-five a late tackle from Esan Marsters on Sean O’Loughlin resulted in a penalty which Harry Smith kicked for a 24-10 lead.

On seventy a towering kick from Jake Connor was collected by Jack Murchie who leapt to take the ball, reversed over the line and dropped to the ground to score. Russell was on target with the conversion for 24-16.

The outcome was put beyond any doubt on seventy-four when Tyler Dupree went over from first receiver after taking a pass from Tom Forber. Smith added the extras for 30-14 with just four minutes remaining.

The Giants were tenacious but, in the end, they were no match for a Wigan Warriors side who could engineer opportunities from almost nothing and who managed to breach the Giants line on five occasions including a splendid Marshall hat-trick. French and Field were on top form to direct their troops and exploit any chink in the Giants armour.

Wigan Warriors: Field, Miski, Keighran (SB on 39), Wardle, Marshall (3T), French (T), Smith (4G), Thompson, O’Neill, Dupree (T), Isa, Farrell, Ellis.  Subs: Mago, Chan, Hill, Forber. 18th Man: Eckersley.

Huddersfield Giants: Connor, Swift (T), Marsters, Naiqama, Wallis (T), Clune (T), Russell (2G), Hill, Milner (SB on 18), Ikahihifo, Murchie, Hewitt, Cudjoe. Subs: Golding, English, Wilson, Salabio. 18th Man: Lolohea.

Half-Time: 18-4.

Full-Time: 30-16.

Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, (SB), 16-0, 18-0, 18-4, (SB) : HT: 18-8, 18-10, 22-10, 24-10, 24-14, 24-16, 28-16, 30-16 :FT.

Lead Exchanges:  Wigan.

Referee:  Jack Smith.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 1st Mar 2024 9:52 PM | Views : 2997 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES