Wigan Warriors came from behind in the closing 5 minutes to lift the Betfred Challenge Cup at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
- Scores from Harry Smith, Jai Field and Liam Marshall sealed the win in the Capital.
- FT | Wigan Warriors 16-14 Huddersfield Giants.
Matt Peet made two changes going into the final as Tommy Leuluai returned from injury to feature off the interchange bench whilst Kaide Ellis returned from a one-match suspension to also feature off the bench.
Huddersfield got themselves into a 6-0 lead with an early penalty goal followed by a try from Ricky Leutele. Wigan got back level with a Harry Smith converted effort, but a score from Chris McQueen late in the opening forty allowed Giants back into the lead at the break.
Wigan got back in front through Jai Field just after the restart before Huddersfield responded once more through Jermaine McGillvary, a fine effort from Liam Marshall sealed the victory though as Wigan lifted the Betfred Challenge Cup.
Within a minute of kick off the Wigan fans were out of their seats as Cade Cust looked to have broken through in the middle of the park but it was pulled back by the referee for a penalty to Huddersfield, they opted for the penalty goal which was successfully converted by Tui Lolohea to put the Giants 2-0 up.
Huddersfield went close again in the 9th minute as Innes Senior looked to be heading for the corner but a good tackle one-on-one from Bevan French forced his man to attempt an offload which went into touch to give Wigan the ball back.
Huddersfield were handed back-to-back penalties close to the Wigan goal line and their persistent attack paid off as a pass out wide to Leutele saw the Centre muscle his way over for the first try of the game. The conversion attempt from Lolohea ricocheted back off the uprights but Huddersfield had the 6-0 lead approaching 20 minutes.
Wigan had a great chance in the 24th minute, first Liam Farrell went on a run to get the Warriors into good territory before Harry Smith had a go, but was stopped just short. The kick on the last was collected by the Giants but great defence forced them back over the goal line for a dropout. From the drop out Wigan collected the ball and a Morgan Smithies offload allowed Harry Smith to race away for Wigan’s opening score, converting his own effort to level the playing field at 6-6.
Chris McQueen got one back for the Giants in the 33rd minute, spotting a gap to go over and put Huddersfield back in front. The conversion attempt from Lolohea was short and the score was 10-6 going into the half time interval.
Wigan burst into the second half as they scored almost immediately. Working their way upfield Thornley sent Bevan French away on the right wing, he raced towards the goal line before cutting a pass inside for Jai Field to finish off the move. Harry Smith made it two from two with the boot to nudge Wigan back into the lead.
The Giants were hoping to draw things level once more as a penalty was awarded 40m out, Lolohea stepped up but his attempt was wide and it remained 12-10 in Wigan’s favour.
Huddersfield swung the tie back in their favour as Jermaine McGillvary went over in the 58th minute, supporting Leroy Cudjoe to sneak in at the right corner. The conversion from Lolohea as wide once more to leave the score at 14-12 to the Giants with the final quarter approaching.
Wigan were knocking on the door as they looked to try and get back in front in the tie, but despite their best efforts, Huddersfield were equal to the danger and the score remained as we entered the final 10 minutes.
Jai Field had the fans out of their seats in the 72nd minute as he latched onto a loose ball on his own goal line to race away, but the full back could only make it to half way before his attempted offload went astray for Huddersfield to get back in possession.
With the clock ticking down a moment of brilliance saw Harry Smith put a grubber kick through and it was inch perfect for Liam Marshall to collect and finish in the far corner, Smith couldn’t add the extras but it was enough to see Wigan to a 16-14 victory and crown them Challenge Cup Winners 2022.
Wigan Warriors: Jai Field, Bevan French, Iain Thornley, Jake Bibby, Liam Marshall, Cade Cust, Harry Smith, Brad Singleton, Brad O’Neill, Liam Byrne, Liam Farrell, John Bateman, Morgan Smithies.
Interchange: Thomas Leuluai, Patrick Mago, Kaide Ellis, Ethan Havard.
Tries: Smith (25′), Field (42′), Marshall (76′)
Goals: Smith 2/3
Huddersfield Giants: Tui Lolohea, Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Ricky Leutele, Innes Senior, Jack Cogger, Oliver Russell, Chris Hill, Danny Levi, Oliver Wilson, Josh Jones, Chris McQueen, Luke Yates.
Interchange: Matty English, Joe Greenwood, Owen Trout, Ashton Golding.
Tries: Leutele (17′), McQueen (33′), McGillvary (58′)
Goals: Lolohea 1/5
Referee: James Child
Attendance: 51, 628