Giants defeat Warriors
Huddersfield Giants claimed a three-point lead at the top of Super League with an impressive and psychologically important defeat of title rivals Wigan Warriors.
Tries in the second half from Brett Ferres, Scott Grix and Aaron Murphy saw the Giants pull away to land a potentially crucial blow in the race for the League Leaders' Shield.
The sides had matched each other in the first period with a Wigan side lacking Sam Tomkins scoring through Sam Powell and Josh Charnley - his 39th try of the season - and Huddersfield responding through Murphy and Jason Chan.
It was Huddersfield's fifth win in six visits to Wigan and answered questions over their big game temperament, although the Warriors - Challenge Cup finalists this month - live to fight another day.
Wigan were without Tomkins for a fifth league game in succession, the much-coveted full-back having only played cup ties since the defeat at Warrington Wolves on June 24.
Having overcome a bout of food poisoning, a back spasm was this week cited as the reason for his absence and it will doubtless have given the Giants extra reason for optimism.
The Warriors' recent record without their star man is not an impressive one, last week's defeat of Hull KR being only a third win from 11 games that he has missed over the past two seasons.
Yet after a pre-match parade of past players, and with top spot and Wembley places to play for, Wigan's players lacked no motivation themselves.
The game started at a ferocious pace and Wigan - also without another key duo in Sean O'Loughlin and Matty Smith - drew first blood after six minutes.
A video referee call went their way after Charnley palmed back Blake Green's high kick for Powell to touch down.
Huddersfield could have responded within a minute but Eorl Crabtree knocked on close to the line and they missed another chance after Danny Brough picked off a Powell kick to race upfield.
Brough had the line in his sights but Charnley did brilliantly to chase him down. Joe Wardle and Crabtree took up possession to keep the drive going but Wigan held out.
Another promising move broke down after a Luke Robinson knock-on but the Giants finally got through as Brough kicked twice in a slick attack.
Murphy was the final beneficiary, carefully watching the bounce of the second Brough kick to scoop up and score.
Wigan reclaimed the lead with a superb winger's try from Charnley.
The 22-year-old sensed his opportunity the moment he received the ball on halfway and he was soon into his stride, outpacing two defenders and cutting inside another before gleefully diving over.
The Giants again responded with Robinson drawing the defenders and sending Chan over from a short pass.
Huddersfield powered into the second half with Ferres forcing his way over from close range moments after the restart.
Brough, who had converted both first-half tries to cancel out the efforts of Pat Richards, missed the goal and a penalty shot soon after.
Huddersfield grabbed a decisive advantage on the hour as Grix followed up his own kick to dive over in the corner and Brough rediscovered his kicking range to give Huddersfield a 10-point lead.
Another try followed 12 minutes from time as Brough stretched Wigan on the left and Murphy cut inside and crashed through two tackles to cross.
Wigan tried to rouse themselves but Green was stopped short and tempers threatened to boil over in the closing minutes with a number of scuffles.
The first was sparked by a shoulder charge from Epalahame Lauaki and Brough landed his fifth goal from the ensuing penalty.