Tonight Huddersfield Giants hosted Wigan Warriors for the first time since their heart breaking Challenge Cup Final defeat at the expense of the Warriors last year at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium.
The Giants started the game slightly better winning the territory and possession battle inside the first seven minutes after an error from Mike Cooper in the opening tackle of the game.
Ian Watson’s side would be rewarded for their positive start with a shot at goal after a late hit on Will Pryce. Russell then made no mistake with the boot giving the Giants and 8-0 lead after eight minutes.
Wigan’s first chance would come shortly after Bevan French had shown a glimpse of the threat he poses with a half break. A kick followed which Liam Marshall claimed and offloaded in one movement but instead of finding Liam Farrell who would have likely scored, Chris Hill pounced on a loose ball. The Warriors would come close again on their next attack with Liam Farrell tackled short prior to former Giant Jake Wardle being denied a try by good goal line defence.
The writing was on the wall and as Huddersfield took the ball out of their own end, an Esan Marster knock on was picked up by Cade Cust who grubbered ahead for Bevan Frenc to dot down for the game’s first time: 4-2.
Soon though an offside penalty coupled with a penalty for a high tackle gave Russell the chance to level the scores and again he stepped up.
However, shortly after pulling level, the Giants slipped behind after a Harry Smith kick was contested by former Warrior Jake Bibby and Marshall. The ball came loose and was grounded by former Giant Wardle. This time Smith hit the post with his conversion attempt leaving it at 8-4.
For the third time, the Giants nailed a penalty, this time just before the halftime break. Russell converting to make it 8-6 at the interval.
In the first half both the tries had come from kicks so it seemed fitting that the first try of the second half should do so. This time a grubber kick was fumbled by Liam Marshall and Kevin Naiqama picked up and scored.
After 57 minutes, Wigan had the chance to pull level with a disguised ball from Jai Field to Willie Isa however Isa juggled it and the chance was lost.
However, when a try scoring sensation like French is on the end of a chance you expect him to score. He had just moved to fullback with Jai Field move to six and Cade Cust to nine and he was on the right place to take a patted back kick across field. Tui Lolohea nearly came up with a great cover tackle but French had enough to score. For the first time Smith converted to make it 14-12.
Wigan could have cemented their win with a try in the left corner with less than 10 minutes to go after a kick caused disarray but it was pulled back for a forward pass. However, this possession came after a controversial decision against the Giants with the home fans wanting a six again before they themselves were penalised for tackling in the air.
That was the last major event with errors going on to cost Huddersfield as they looked for a match winning try.