Wigan Warriors lost their opening game of the new Super League season going down 8-24 against the Huddersfield Giants at the DW Stadium on Friday night.
The visitors led 0-12 at the break but two quick tries from Iain Thornley and Joe Burgess looked to have brought Wigan back into the game only for Huddersfield to score again and seize the initiative. Winger Jermaine McGillvary with a hat-trick for the Giants.
Wigan were forced into a late change with Skipper Sean O'Loughlin forced to pull out after failing a late fitness test. This meant a reshuffle for Shaun Wane with Ben Flower switching to Loose Forward with Eddy Pettybourne starting, elsewhere Gil Dudson was brought in on the bench. Wigan had four new signings making their Warriors Super League debuts in Matty Bowen, Dan Sarginson, Tony Clubb and Pettybourne. The Giants gave debuts to Antonio Kaufusi and Chris Bailey.
It was the Giants who were the first on the score sheet on 5 minutes, Aaron Murphy with a kick over the top and Second Row Forward Brett Ferres was on hand to dive on the loose ball. Danny Brough's conversion hit the upright and bounced back into the field of play, 0-4.
Wigan looked to hit back with pressure deep inside the Giants half, a high Smith lofted kick but the ball was taken well by Scott Grix and the opportunity was gone.
At the other end on 18 minutes, Huddersfield extended their lead, Lunt with a clever kick as the Giants switched the play blindside and Jermaine McGillvary stretched to dive on the ball for the try, the decision given by the referee, from out wide Brough missed the difficult conversion, 0-8.
The Giants had a another great opportunity to extend their lead, Danny Brough with some clever play then wasted a golden chance, probably could have scored himself and opted for a pass and the chance was missed.
Wigan then looked to ask some questions at the other end with a couple of penalties and three sets of six but Huddersfield were again strong in defence and held firm.
On 29 minutes Huddersfield grabbed their third try of the game, the ball moved quickly to the right and McGillvary was in for his second try in the corner, Cudjoe with the pass. Brough missed the goal but the Giants led 0-12.
As the first half drew to a close there was a long break in play as Larne Patrick fell awkwardly in the tackle and was forced to leave the field on a stretcher. Brough missed a chance for a drop goal in front of the sticks, his effort though wide and the visitors on top 0-12 at the break.
With just 2 minutes into the second half, Huddersfield wasted another great opportunity, this time Joe Wardle through a huge gap but Danny Brough knocked on once more as Wigan were stretched.
There was at last some points on the board for Wigan and it came on 45 minutes, Dan Sarginson down the left with the pass and Iain Thornley still had lots to do to ground the ball on handed in the corner. Matty Smith missed the extras but the home side back in it, 4-12.
Wigan forced back to back sets on the Giants line and the Warriors were calm and collect and the intensity told as Joe Burgess squeezed in for the home sides second try on 51 minutes, Smith again missed the goal but the deficit was reduced to just four points, 8-12.
The tide swung back in favour of Paul Anderson's side as McGillvary completed his hat-trick diving over in the right hand side on 54 minutes, this time Brough struck a sweet conversion and Huddersfield were back in the ascendancy, 8-18 to the good after Wigan had clawed their way back into the contest with two quick tries.
Matty Bowen was put on report on 64 minutes catching Grix from a kick over.
A Brough break and Grix try on 72 minutes sealed Wigan's fate and Brough grabbed his second goal, 8-24.
Wigan looked for a way back into the contest but it wasn't to be and the Warriors head off to New Zealand and Australia for their hugely important World Club Challenge game on the back of an opening day defeat, the Giants deserving the two points on offer.
Wigan Warriors 8
T - Thornley, Burgess
G - Smith 0/2
Huddersfield Giants 24
T - Ferres, McGillvary 3, Grix
G - Brough 2/5