As the Super League campaign passed its halfway mark, Wigan showed all the character and points-scoring prowess of champions – a title they have not held for 12 years – as they withstood a ferocious effort by Huddersfield to move four points clear at the top of the table.
Joel Tomkins and Darrell Goulding scored two tries each as Michael Maguire's side took advantage of defeats by Warrington and St Helens to put further ground between themselves and the chasing pack.
The defeat was Huddersfield's third in as many games, and while they will take heart from a spirited display following a 60-4 mauling by Warrington a week ago, it was not enough to lift the gloom that has hung over them since confirmation that their captain, Brett Hodgson, and coach, Nathan Brown, will be leaving at the end of the year.
"Generally, when we score 30 points we win," Brown said. "Both sides played attacking football and we gave a good response from last week."
After losing 28-10 to Wigan in their last Super League match, Brown warned of possible "vigilante" action in this game, and his remark lit the touchpaper for a fierce confrontation. The early stages did not disappoint, as Huddersfield edged the opening half 20-18 with tries by Leroy Cudjoe, Paul Whatuira and two from David Hodgson, cancelling out touchdowns from Tomkins, George Carmont and Goulding.
Wigan had a player sent to the sin bin in each half – Tomkins and Andy Coley – both for delaying tactics in the tackle, and Maguire hailed the character of his side during that spell: "We got ourselves into a tough position but carried on working hard for each other."
Tries by Tomkins and Coley put Wigan 30-20 ahead but Huddersfield responded with two of their own, through Eorl Crabtree and Hodgson' s third – his fourth hat-trick of the year – before Goulding's 68th-minute try for the Warriors proved decisive.
Huddersfield B Hodgson; Cudjoe, Lolesi, Whatuira, D Hodgson; Brown, Brough; Crabtree, Robinson, Mason, Gilmour, Wild, Faiumu. Substitutes used Lunt, Raleigh, Aspinwall, Griffin.
Wigan Richards; Goulding, Marsh, Carmont, Pryce; S Tomkins, Leuluai; Fielden, McIlorum, Coley, Bailey, J Tomkins, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used Riddell, Prescott, O'Carroll, Mossop.
Referee R Silverwood.Reuse content