Matt Peet: Wigan Warriors Challenge Cup win yet to sink in | Huddersfield Giants ‘best team for large parts’ | Rugby League News


Matt Peet, the youngest head coach in the Betfred Super League at 38, has guided boyhood club Wigan to a major honour four months into his first season in charge; Huddersfield boss Ian Watson felt his side were the better team for large parts of the final

Last Updated: 28/05/22 7:07pm

Wigan head coach Matt Peet celebrates with the Challenge Cup

Wigan head coach Matt Peet celebrates with the Challenge Cup

Matt Peet admitted guiding Wigan Warriors to Betfred Challenge Cup glory in his first season as head coach had yet to sink in as they celebrated a 16-14 win over Huddersfield Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Liam Marshall’s 77th-minute try saw the Warriors snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and enabled them lift the famous old trophy for a record 20th time, as well as denying the Giants their first success in this competition since 1953.

Peet, the youngest head coach in the Betfred Super League at 38, now has a first major trophy barely four months into his maiden season in the top job in the bag. But while he was delighted to give the supporters of his hometown club something to cheer, he was still yet to appreciate it himself.

“I know it’s good, I know it’s positive, but it certainly hasn’t sunk in,” Peet said. “I’m looking forward to it sinking in, I’m looking forward to the town, families, players and staff celebrating and enjoying the moment because they’ve worked very, very hard.

“I can sit here really proud just knowing people are happy and we’ve played a part in helping them have a great weekend.

“Them creating memories as supporters, families and friends, people watching on TV, people who work for the club who won’t have got down – I can name so many people who’ve contributed in their own separate way and brought energy to that performance.

“I can sit anywhere tonight and be happy just thinking about that.”

I’m looking forward to it sinking in, I’m looking forward to the town, families, players and staff celebrating and enjoying the moment because they’ve worked very, very hard.

Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet

Wigan had trailed 10-6 at half-time in the final, but Jai Field’s try three minutes into the second half put them in front. However, Jermaine McGillvary’s unconverted try and some immense defence looked to have been enough to get Huddersfield over the line.

That was until Harry Smith showed great vision to slot a grubber kick in behind the defence for winger Marshall to chase down and grab to finish, sending the Wigan fans at that end of the ground wild.

Peet was particularly pleased to see 26-year-old, who he would bang the drum for during his time as head of Wigan’s academy set-up, have a moment of glory to celebrate after overcoming challenges throughout his career.

“He’s good under pressure, he’s got good instincts and his speed is excellent, but for me it’s just rewards,” Peet said of Marshall.

Liam Marshall sealed the Challenge Cup for Wigan with 77th-minute try against Huddersfield

Liam Marshall sealed the Challenge Cup for Wigan with 77th-minute try against Huddersfield

“I think it’s well-documented how resilient Liam has been in his career; I love what he brings to the group and the way he just never gives in.

“If you look at his career, as someone who was so slight as a junior player, the only player in his team who didn’t get on scholarships, constantly looked too small to get to the next level and that resilience and toughness is what has kept him in the game when others weren’t.

“I’m delighted when I see him have his moment.”

Watson: Giants were best team for large parts

Ian Watson felt his Huddersfield side did not get what they deserved after going down to Wigan in agonising fashion in the Challenge Cup final.

Huddersfield's Jermaine McGillvary looks dejected after his side's Challenge Cup final defeat

Huddersfield’s Jermaine McGillvary looks dejected after his side’s Challenge Cup final defeat

It is the third time the former Wales international half-back has finished on the losing team in a major final, having done so during his time in charge of Salford Red Devils in the 2019 Super League Grand Final and the 2020 final of this competition.

However, Watson made no secret of the fact he felt worse after this defeat than the 17-16 loss to Leeds Rhinos at Wembley two years ago and was in no doubt the Giants – who saw Chris McQueen win the Lance Todd Trophy for player of the match – had the better of significant parts of the game.

“The boys put in an enormous shift, and I thought we were outstanding,” Watson said.

“I think we were the best team for large parts of the game, we’ve just not got what we deserved probably. It’s worse than the other time, for sure, because they deserved it today.

I think we were the best team for large parts of the game, we’ve just not got what we deserved probably. It’s worse than the other time for sure because they deserved it today.

Huddersfield Giants head coach Ian Watson

“That’s what hurts, because of how much effort they put in, and it’s just come down to one little moment in the game where they’ve caught us and that’s generally what big games are.”

Things could have been different for the Giants had Tui Lolohea, who kicked them ahead with a second-minute penalty, not missed four out of five attempts at goal, failing to convert tries from Ricky Leutele, McQueen and McGillvary as well as missing a second-half penalty attempt.

However, Watson attached no blame to full-back Lolohea and instead preferred to focus on other missed opportunities for his side.

“It is what it is, and goal-kickers are always going to get labelled,” Watson said. “We still could have won the game without that, and I’ve had a good chat with Tui.

“Obviously, Tui is going to beat himself up about not kicking the goals, but there are other situations why we’ve lost the game which we probably need to have a look at rather than focus on the goal-kicking.”





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