An accomplished performance from Nathan Brown’s key men sent Huddersfield Giants to the top of the table – overcoming Warrington Wolves in the process.
Brown has rotated his squad in recent weeks but recalled the likes of Eorl Crabtree, Luke O’Donnell and Kevin Brown and the Giants were evidently the fresher of the two sides.
The intensity of the Giants defensive line was the key factor in stifling a Warrington attack that lacked purpose and direction in Lee Briers’ absence. Another important element in a lacklustre Wolves performance was their disregard for possession, which saw them turn the ball over with a series of unnecessary offloads.
The Giants took the lead when Kevin Brown’s zipped pass put Leroy Cudjoe into space and the centre then drew his man to release Jermaine McGillvary. The wing raced down the right flank before kicking in-field for the supporting Scott Grix to gather and score.
The enterprise shown by the Giants to create their first try immediately became their undoing. A wide pass was knocked on by Lee Gilmour – gifting the Wolves possession and attacking field position – and from the resulting set Brett Hodgson scored against his former club after deft handling from Joel Monaghan.
Luke Robinson cleverly put Larne Patrick clean through and the forward crossed for a try, before Robinson poached one himself from close range as Huddersfield’s momentum was rewarded with points. Danny Brough converted both tries to help the Giants amass a 12 point lead.
The Wolves got their second try just moments before half-time. Hodgson came into the line from full-back and held off a challenge to ground the ball – a decision that was awarded eventually by the video referee – and subdue the home crowd.
Brough extended the lead with a penalty on 53 minutes after a high shot by David Solomona had gifted the Giants a penalty in front of the posts. The Giants’ 12 point advantage was then restored when Brough was presented with a similar attempt at goal – which he converted.
Brough again nudged his side further ahead with a drop goal before Brown spread the ball wide to McGillvary who scored in the dying moments to wrap up an emphatic win.
Huddersfield: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Lawrence, Simpson, Brown, Brough, Crabtree, Robinson, Raleigh, Gilmour, O’Donnell, Ferguson Subs: Lunt, Patrick, Faiumu, Kirmond
Tries: Grix 4, Patrick 22, Robinson 33, McGillvary 79
Goals: Brough 4, 22, 33, 52, 58, 79
Drop goal: Brough 62
Warrington: Hodgson, J Monaghan, Atkins, Blythe, Evans, Bridge, Myler, Morley, M Monaghan, Carvell, Anderson, Westwood, Harrison Subs: Clarke, Wood, Cooper, Solomona
Tries: Hodgson 8, 40
Goals: Hodgson 8
Referee: Richard Silverwood