What a huge disappointment after the glorious events of 11 days earlier when the Giants were lifting the Super League Leaders Shield!

When the expectations for Huddersfield in the play-offs had never been higher, they failed to rise to the occasion and immediately threw away their top-of-the-table advantage to highly-impressive Wigan Warriors.

They now face a home tie against the lowest-ranked winners from this weekend’s elimination play-offs that will either be Catalan Dragons, Hull FC or Hull KR – next Thursday, when victory that night will mean the prospect of an away trip in the semi-final if they are to fulfil their dream of reaching the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on October 5.

But they know they’ll need to play far better than they did last night to keep their seen alive, with a complete lack of possession for the ball proved their down.

 

The wet conditions made it tough to play an expansive game, but it didn’t seem that big a deal to the Warriors, who handled everything far better.

Even without a couple of their most experienced players, Wigan once again underlined their play-off pedigree and showed just what’s required to win the games that really matter.

However, if the Giants were feeling any nerves at playing such an important play-off game, they didn’t show it during the excellent opening exchanges.

Huddersfield were by far the more dominant force early on and took the lead after just four minutes with an outstanding individual try from Danny Brough.

The inspirational half-back collected 40m out, spotted a gap in the Wigan defence, shot through, rounded full-back Sam Tomkins and dived in under the posts.

Brough added the extras and the minor champions had made the dream start.

But with the wet conditions turning the ball into a bar of soap and thwarting any attempts at producing an expansive game, the Giants were unable to ram home their early advantage with errors early in the count proving costly.

And it was at its costliest in the 24th minute when from one of the Giants’ many spilt balls inside Warriors territory paving the way for Josh Charnley to dive over smartly in the corner after a relatively rare visitors raid.

Pat Richards landed an excellent touchline conversion and then gave his side the lead two minutes later when Huddersfield’s kick-off from the try was ruled dead.

Only outstanding defensive efforts from Scott Grix and Brett Ferres prevented Wigan extending their advantage in what had become a nail-biting affair.

Huddersfield Giants' Shaun Lunt in action against Wigan Warriors
Huddersfield Giants' Shaun Lunt in action against Wigan Warriors
 

But on the stroke of half-time Brough levelled the scores following one of Wigan’s spilt balls, and at 8-8 at the break it couldn’t have been tighter.

Just like in the first half, the Giants started the second half the stronger, with Brough to the fore to force Wigan’s fourth drop-out of the contest.

But also like in the opening period, the Warriors responded well, forcing Huddersfield to drop-out three times in quick succession before regaining the lead in the 54th minute when Tomkins’ long pass put Charnley over for his second converted try in the corner.

Great Wigan defence then denied Ferres, Chan, Eorl Crabtree and Leroy Cudjoe close to the line.

And the visitors eventually gained their reward with 15 minutes.

Remaining when Matty Smith landed a drop goal to nudge his side two scores ahead after another period of pressure.

That lead wax further increased in the 68th minute when Blake Green collected 20m out and shot through to score for Richards to add his fourth goal of the night, but the final nail in the Giants coffin was hammered in at the sound of the final hooter when Smith slotted over his second one-pointer to round off the evening.