The maths were simple for the Wigan Warriors. A win would seal the minor premiership and send them into play-offs in pole position, an unthinkable loss would gift the minor premiership to arch-rivals St Helens and push Wigan into third spot and a play-off game against Hull FC next week.
The Wigan starting thirteen was the same as the one which beat St Helens to go top of the league last weekend the only change in the seventeen being George Burgess in for the suspended Joe Greenwood.
The bookies and pundits favoured a Wigan win but with nothing else to play for the neutrals were hoping that the Giants would give everything to spoil the Warriors’ party.
A strong run from acting half-back from Sam Powell on five minutes saw the Wigan hooker get the ball on the ground under the uprights for the first try of the game. The video referee was consulted but was happy that the ball was grounded and when Zak Hardaker added the conversion the Warriors had a 6-0 lead.
A great tackle from Jake Bibby denied Louis Senior a try as he dragged him into touch as he stretched for the line.
On thirty-seven the Giants were back in the game when Bevan French couldn’t collect an Aidan Sezer high kick under pressure from Owen Trout. Sam Wood collected the loose ball and scored under the sticks and when Sezer added the goal it was all square at the interval.
It took until the hour mark before Wigan re-established their lead with Jackson Hastings pushing over the top of Ash Golding to get the ball in the ground under the uprights. Hardaker added the conversion for 12-6.
Three minutes later Hardaker touched down a Hastings kick through to seal the win, and the minor premiership, for the Warriors. Hardaker added the conversion from wide, his most difficult of the day, for 18-6. It was too far back for the Giants.
Hastings added a one-pointer of seventy-six to remove any thoughts of a Giants late rally and seal a 19-6 win.
This was a tired performance from Wigan but they still had enough in the tank to score a patient win against the Huddersfield Giants and in doing so to seal their first minor premiership for eight years for ending the season on top of the pile. They now have a week off to prepare for a knock-out semi-final against the lowest ranked victors in next weeks opening play-off games. The Giants season is over, although they are on stand-by in the unlikely case that any of the sides above them can’t fulfil their fixture next weekend.
Huddersfield Giants: Golding, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle Jake, Senior, Sezer (G), Russell, Ta’ai, Moore, Lawrence, Wardle Joe, McQueen, Turner. Subs: Wood, Trout (T), Michael, Gavet.
Wigan Warriors: French, Burgess J, Gildart, Hardaker (T, 3G), Bibby, Hastings (T, DG), Leuluai, Bullock, Powell (T), Singleton, Farrell, Isa, Partington. Subs: Clubb, Flower, Burgess G, Smithies.
Referee: Chris Kendall.
Half Time: 6-6.
Full Time: 6-19.
Venue: Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds.