Super League: Wigan Warriors 19-6 Huddersfield Giants – Warriors win League Leaders’ Shield

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Adrian Lam was initially meant to take charge of Wigan during the 2019 season but stayed on for a second year after Shaun Edwards changed his mind about taking over
Wigan (6) 19
Tries: Powell, Hastings, Hardaker Goals: Hardaker 3 Drop goal: Hastings
Huddersfield (6) 6
Tries: Wood Goals: Sezer

Wigan won their fifth League Leaders’ Shield, and first since 2012, as they beat Huddersfield in the final game of the regular Super League season.

Sam Powell crossed early on for Wigan before Sam Wood touched down under the posts for the Giants before half-time.

Jackson Hastings broke the tension to score Wigan’s second try in a finely poised second half at Headingley.

Zak Hardaker’s try wrapped up the win and ensured Adrian Lam his first piece of silverware as Wigan boss.

Wigan’s League Leaders’ Shield win comes after the end of the regular Super League season was brought forward along with the play-offs on Tuesday after Hull KR said an outbreak of Covid-19 meant they could not finish the campaign.

With second-placed St Helens not playing their final game of the regular season against Catalans because of national lockdown restrictions in the UK and France, the Warriors needed to beat the Giants to win the shield.

In a tense match for much of its 80 minutes, Wigan struggled to add to their early lead after Powell crossed over in the game’s opening stages.

Huddersfield, who handed a debut to Ronan Michael in the second half as he became the first Irishman to feature in Super League since Brian Carney’s retirement in 2009, did well to keep the scores level until the hour mark.

Hastings proved to be the catalyst after the break as the 2019 Man of Steel touched down and then chipped through for Hardaker to touch down and give the Warriors a 12-point cushion.

The Australian’s late drop-goal wrapped up the win against Luke Robinson’s side, who will now stay on standby for the upcoming Super League play-offs having finished seventh.

Third-placed Warrington will now kick off the elimination play-offs against sixth-placed Hull FC on Thursday while fourth-placed Catalans take on 2020 Challenge Cup winners Leeds on Friday.

Wigan and second-placed St Helens go straight through to the play-off semi-finals which begin the following week.

Wigan Warriors head coach Adrian Lam:

“I anticipated it would be close. We always have difficult games against Huddersfield.

“If you look at their form, if they’ve lost, they haven’t lost by much and we talked about that.

“There was a little bit of nerves in the dressing room at half-time but I thought the longer the game went, the better we got.”

Huddersfield Giants interim coach Luke Robinson:

“We showed a lot of grit and determination. I thought the effort was incredible.

“We got in an arm wrestle and fell out of it again. When you have so many narrow losses, your confidence ebbs away and it becomes a habit.

“[On being on standby for the play-offs] We need to prepare like we’re going to be in it. With everything that’s gone on this year, you never know.”

Wigan: French, Bibby, Hardaker, Gildart, J Burgess, Leuluai, Hastings, Bullock, Powell, Singleton, Isa, Farrell, Partington.

Interchanges: G Burgess, Clubb, Flower, Smithies.

Huddersfield: Golding, McGillvary, Jake Wardle, Cudjoe, Senior, Russell, Sezer, Ta’ai, Moore, Lawrence, McQueen, Joe Wardle, Turner.

Interchanges: Wood, Trout, Michael, Gavet.

Referee: C. Kendall.

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BBC Sport – Rugby League

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