Craig Mullen on Under-19s 24-20 win over the Huddersfield Giants Under-19s
Wigan Under-19s overcome physical Huddersfield side in a thrilling encounter
- Mullen sets up a try and influential in attack to lead the Warriors to victory
Utility-back Craig Mullen says Wigan’s leadership and experience was the difference as the Under-19s ran out winners against Huddersfield.
Wigan, league leaders in the Academy championship, were troubled by a competitive Huddersfield side with conversions separating the sides after the 80 minutes.
“Huddersfield turned up, they always do, they squared up to us,” Mullen said.
“We’re a solid side with a good record at our home ground and I thought they troubled us.
“They made us answer a lot of questions in both attack and defence, we saw a good Huddersfield side but they fell short because of our experience.”
Mullen praised the leadership in the side believing it laid the foundation for a strong performance as he paid tribute to some of his teammates.
“Our leadership was key, we have some experienced players who have played a lot of Academy rugby as well as a couple of players who have some First Team experience.
“James Worthington was outstanding today, Josh Ganson is a very experienced player and he had a strong game after playing in some Super League and Challenge Cup fixtures.
“It was that which led us through the game, we also like to think that clubs come to our place and think it’s their Grand Final.”
The Warriors targeted the physical aspect of the game when coming up against a big Giants pack and Mullen think there is room for improvement as Huddersfield got the better of them at points in the game.
“In spells we were strong as we wanted to be but we weren’t consistent enough, our starting pack were outstanding and they matched them through the middle.
“We had some big players starting and they had some equally big players starting for them, they handled them well.
“But our bench middles didn’t quite match their bench middles which is when they started to get to us and got rolling as a team, that led to about 10 sets defending our goal line.”
The full back, who has played at half back as well this season, was influential in attack and set up a try with an inch perfect cut out pass for James Worthington’s try.
“Influential plays come naturally to us but we do a lot of practice throughout the week.
“Being at full back allows me more running opportunities with more of a free rein and I can focus on my own game so it takes the pressure off rather than playing half back.”
Image - Sean Gosling