Two tries from Larne Patrick highlighted a superb team performance that brought Huddersfield a surprise victory at Wigan. The substitute prop scored once from close range but his second was a 50-metre dash that would have had him thrown out of the front-rowers' union in a previous era.
"You could pick out a lot of players," said the Giants' coach, Nathan Brown, who pointed to Lee Gilmour's first game in the front row and a big contribution from Jacob Fairbank. "We had team spirit like that in my first 18 months at the club and we got it back today."
Despite fielding a side depleted by injuries, it was the Giants who got the winter rust out of their systems first. With Luke Robinson buzzing at dummy-half and Danny Brough pinning back Wigan, it was by no means against the run of play when they took the lead after Simon Grix put Gilmour in. It took 32 minutes before Wigan scored, Sam Tomkins going over. Even then, Huddersfield were deservedly ahead at half-time, after Brough put over a penalty. That advantage was extended by a try, set up by kicks from Brough and McGillvary and finished off by the recently introduced Patrick. Wigan substitute Liam Farrell then put the Giants on the back foot with one run and scoring from Brett Finch's pass with another.
The stage was set for Wigan to steal the points, but Patrick put paid to that with a stunning burst that broke the defensive line.
"We've seen over the last couple of years that he can score some fantastic tries," Brown said. A Sean O'Loughlin try revived Wigan's hopes, but they had been clearly second-best. "I'm disappointed with that and I never saw it coming," said Wigan's new coach, Shaun Wane. "We've had a very honest and brutal talk about and the players are as distraught as me. Five or six individual performances weren't up to scratch."
Wigan Warriors: Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Richards; Finch, Leuluai; Mossop, McIlorum, Lima, Hansen, Hock, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Farrell, Tuson, Lauaki, Flower.
Huddersfield Giants: Eden; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, George; Grix, Brough; Crabtree, Robinson, Gilmour, Fairbank, Chan, Lee. Substitutes used: Lunt, Patrick, Lawrence, Walker.
Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).
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