Huddersfield edge past Wakefield in thriller at Magic Weekend

Drew Darbyshire

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Huddersfield beat Wakefield for the second time in as many weeks in a pulsating clash at St James’ Park.

The Giants beat Trinity in the Challenge Cup sixth round last week and ran-out 25-22 winners at Magic Weekend.

Huddersfield interim coach Chris Thorman made two changes to his side that beat Wakefield Trinity in the Challenge Cup last week. Aaron Murphy and Tyler Dickinson replaced Michael Lawrence and Daniel Smith.

Chris Chester made five changes to his Wakefield outfit that were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Huddersfield Giants last time out. Ben Jones-Bishop, Reece Lyne, Tyler Randell, Danny Kirmond and Craig Huby came in for Max Jowitt, Tom Johnstone, Joe Arundel, Anthony England and Joe Batchelor.

Huddersfield couldn’t have wished for a better start to the game. Tonga international Ukuma Ta’ai made a break and assisted the supporting Murphy, who was playing in an unfamiliar position of back-row. Danny Brough converted to put his side 6-0 up.

Mason Caton-Brown thought he had scored for Wakefield in the corner, but it was ruled out by the video referee due to his foot being in touch.

The Giants were in again midway through the first half. Adam O’Brien got his second try of the season after scooting from dummy half. Brough’s boot took the score to 12-0.

Jake Mamo extended Huddersfield’s lead following a superb break from Murphy. Brough added the extras to put the Giants 18-0 ahead after 24 minutes.

Wakefield pulled a try back on the half hour mark. Huddersfield winger Jermaine McGillvary failed to deal with a grubber from Matty Ashurst, the ball was fumbled and Ashurst raced onto the loose ball to score. Ireland star Liam Finn added the conversion, but they were still 18-6 behind.

Brough was putting in a fine performance with the boot. He kicked a 40/20 in the latter stages of the first half and then slotted a drop goal to send his side into the sheds 19-6 in front.

Huddersfield were dealt a blow early on in the second half as they were put on a team warning. Kruise Leeming was then sent to the sin bin for holding Miller down for too long in the tackle.

Trinity capitalised on having the extra man on the field as Jones-Bishop cottoned onto a grubber kick from Miller to score. Finn added the conversion, Wakefield 12-19 Huddersfield.

Darnell McIntosh stretched Huddersfield’s lead though. The winger finished exquisitely in the corner. Brough’s conversion put Huddersfield 25-12 up after 49 minutes.

Jones-Bishop got his second of the game when he received a brilliant pass from Pauli Pauli to score. Finn converted and they were only 25-18 behind.

The Giants were denied two tries within a couple of minutes on the hour mark. The first was because Alex Mellor was offside and the second due to Dickinson obstructing the Wakefield defence.

Lyne fended off Mamo to pull another back for Wakefield late on. Huddersfield led by just three points with seven minutes remaining.

Brough managed the Giants well and his kicking game helped see his side grind out a 25-22 win.

The Giants are now just one point behind eighth-placed Salford Red Devils, with new coach Simon Woolford believed to be arriving in the UK next week.

Wakefield: Hampshire; Jones-Bishop, Tupou, Lyne, Caton-Brown; Miller, Finn; Fifita, Randell, Hirst, Kirmond, Ashurst, Arona. Subs: Wood, Huby, Pauli, Horo.

Huddersfield: Rankin; McGillvary, Gaskell, Mamo, McIntosh; Turner, Brough; Ta’ai, O’Brien, Clough, Mellor, Murphy, Hinchcliffe. Subs: Leeming, Dickinson, English, Ikahihifo.

Starman: Danny Brough was a leader for Huddersfield and his kicking game was second to none.