Wigan hit top thanks to Charnley's magic
Huddersfield 6 Wigan 20
Saturday 19 March 2011
The Super League title-holders were depleted but not defeated, as Josh Charnley guided them to a magnificently determined victory. The young winger, unknown and untested until a loan spell at Hull KR at the end of last season, did a bit of everything to help Wigan preserve this year's unbeaten record.
He scored one try, had a vital hand in the two others and saved a couple more, kicking four goals for good measure, but he was only the most eye-catching of a Wigan team making light of being without eight regulars.
"He's a talent. He was always going to be a great first-grade player," said the Wigan coach, Michael Maguire, of Charnley's role in taking Wigan to the top for the first time this season. "I was very proud of the team's defence. It was up there with our best."
With injuries, suspensions and sundry other absentees, it looked an eminently beatable side that Wigan put on the field here. That was not the way they played in the opening minutes, however. Having extracted a penalty for Jamie Simpson holding on in the tackle, the Warriors worked the ball towards the sticks for Thomas Leuluai to launch it to the left wing. Charnley caught it cleanly and had the presence of mind to turn it back inside for Sean O'Loughlin to score.
Charnley added to his good work by landing the difficult conversion and then tackled Simpson into touch after Kevin Brown had sent Leroy Cudjoe away. That was the first of a series of chances the Giants carved out in the first half, but they took only one of them. That was when Danny Brough put up a massive kick, which Amos Roberts missed completely. After bouncing around the ball finished up in the hands of Luke Robinson.
Brough kicked the goal and continued to give Roberts a dreadful pounding with his boot. Somehow Wigan survived. Better still, they edged ahead through Charnley's penalty before the break, though they had seen the worrying sight of Ryan Hoffman limping off to the dressing rooms a few minutes earlier to further limit their options.
They started the second half with a stroke of brilliance, making ground through their young forwards for O'Loughlin to chip to the corner and Charnley to time it perfectly to catch and touch down.
A run of three penalties conceded seemed to have worn down Wigan's defence, but Simpson's try was disallowed for a knock-on as the champions hung on.
Charnley's penalty edged Wigan toward the winning post, before his break and intuitive inside ball for Hoffman put it beyond doubt.
"There wasn't much between the teams," said the Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown. "We just have to be a bit better next time we play them."
Huddersfield Grix; Simpson, Cudjoe, Wardle, Hodgson; Brown, Brough; Mason, Lunt, Griffin, Gilmour, Fa'alogo, O'Donnell. Substitutes used Robinson, Faiumu, Crabtree, Horne.
Wigan Roberts; Goulding, Marsh, Carmont, Charnley; O'Loughlin, Leuluai; Prescott, McIlorum, Coley, Hansen, Hoffman, Farrell. Substitutes used Lima, Mossop, Tuson, Mellor.
Referee B Thaler (Wakefield).
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online
Latest in Sport
Anderlecht vs Arsenal match report: Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski pounce as Arsenal leave it late
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Daley Blind admits United must 'play our best game' to get a result at Old Trafford
Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Was Cristiano Ronaldo the star man? And how did Mario Balotelli fare?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was shirt swapping the real reason?
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'