On Friday night, amidst a deluge of rain, the Huddersfield Giants made the trek to Lancashire to face off against the formidable Wigan Warriors in their second clash of the Super League season.
This match held immense significance for the Giants, particularly for their rising star Fenton Rogers, a product of the Giants’ academy. It marked Rogers’ inaugural appearance as a first-team player in his fledgling Rugby League career, a momentous occasion that earned him accolades from the entire club. Although Rogers started the game on the substitutes’ bench, he would eventually grace the field later in the match.
The Giants commenced the game as the rain continued to pelt down relentlessly…
Just three minutes into the encounter, the Giants seized an opportunity following a dropped ball. Crafting an attack from the back of a scrum at the centre field, the Giants manoeuvred their way towards the Wigan 10-meter line. A deft kick from Lolohea narrowly eluded Chris McQueen by the slimmest of margins. Despite the Giants’ efforts, they were only rewarded with a Goal Line Dropout (GLD), failing to capitalise on the scoring opportunity.
However, after eight minutes, Wigan managed to breach the Giants’ defence. A miscue from Jermaine McGillvary presented Wigan with a scrum on the Giants’ 10-meter line. From the subsequent set, Abbas Miski skillfully darted into the right corner, but Harry Smith failed to convert the try. The scoreboard read Wigan 4 – 0 Giants.
As the game progressed to the 15-minute mark, the Giants had firmly established their presence on the field, arguably asserting themselves as the better side. They exerted pressure on Wigan, forcing more Goal Line Dropouts and threatening their opponents in dangerous areas.
Half an hour had passed, and the situation remained largely unchanged. Both teams launched swift attacks, resorting to kicks for territorial advantage, yet neither side managed to break the deadlock.
In the 35th minute, a moment of pride enveloped the field as Fenton Rogers donned the Giants’ jersey for his first-team debut, marking a significant milestone in his career.
Shortly before the halftime whistle, Wigan secured their second try of the game. A near replica of their first score, Miski once again found the corner. This time, Harry Smith’s conversion attempt proved successful. As the teams retreated to the dressing rooms, the scoreboard displayed Wigan 10 – 0 Giants.
The second half commenced with the Giants showcasing a promising start, earning a series of penalties that propelled them forward. Capitalising on the momentum, Jai Field identified a gap in the Giants’ defensive line and exploited it, extending Wigan’s lead. The score now stood at Wigan 16 – 0 Giants.
With 18 minutes remaining, the Giants believed they had finally hit back. Chris McQueen surged through the defensive line, seemingly on the cusp of grounding the ball. Yet, the Wigan defenders executed a superb job of keeping McQueen on his feet and eventually driving him out of bounds.
In the 65th minute, Wigan struck once more, finding the corner yet again. A well-placed kick from the centre was met by Liam Marshall, who executed a timely finish. Smith added the extras with another successful conversion. The scoreboard read Wigan 22 – 0 Giants.
In the dying moments of the game, the Giants’ hopes of registering a consolation try were dashed. Lolohea threaded a perfectly timed pass to the sprinting Naiqama, but the referee deemed it a forward pass, disallowing the score.
Finally, with a mere four minutes remaining on the clock, Jake Bibby exhibited exceptional skills as he spun, evaded defenders, and ultimately found his way across the try line. Jake Connor displayed accuracy and finesse in slotting the conversion. The final score stood at Wigan 22 – 6 Giants.
Regrettably, this was not a match the Giants will reminisce about fondly, as multiple errors throughout the game proved costly for the visiting side.
In the end, the Wigan Warriors emerged victorious, defeating the Huddersfield Giants with a final scoreline of 22 – 6.