After their first win in five games, Catalans Dragons travel to the John Smith’s Stadium in an attempt to get their season back on track. Huddersfield come into the game off the back of a draw away at St. Helens, while Catalans look to make it two wins on the bounce after an uncharacteristic away win away at Leigh.
LAST TIME OUT
Huddersfield went into their Round 8 clash with St Helens off the back of a 52-16 thrashing away at Castleford. With only two wins so far this season, both coming in the first three rounds of the season, Huddersfield have been low on confidence as of late without a win in five prior to their meeting with St Helens. A 14-14 draw with the hosts was to some extent a success when considering they were trailing by 14 points at half time. A quasi-success that may just give the Giants some motivation going into their fifth home game of the season. Theo Fages opened the scoring after a well-worked offload on the Giants’ line from returning Saint Zeb Taia and Mark Percival converted to make it 6-0. Saints continued to work the Huddersfield defence and were rewarded by a 32nd minute effort from Theo Fages for his second of the day. Three minutes before the half time hooter, slick hands from Saints put Adam Swift over in the corner – and with Percival failing to convert once again, Saints went into the half time break with a 14-0 lead.
The Giants came out of the sheds at half time revitalised, but had to wait 20-minutes before they got the first score of the second half. Darnell Mackintosh muscled his way over to close the deficit, but Brough couldn’t add the extras and the Giants trailed 14-4. Mackintosh struck again, under the sticks this time, after some good fortune from a Danny Brough grubber kick. This time Brough added the extras and brought the visitors within four points. In a grandstand finish, Sam Wood went over in the corner after gathering another Brough kick in the 77th minute – leaving Brough with a kick to win the game. However, Brough couldn’t add the extras and the two sides shared the spoils after an encouraging second half performance from Huddersfield.
Catalans Dragons similarly went into their Round 8 encounter with Leigh with a four game losing streak, languishing near the bottom of the table. Leigh opened the scoring with a Ben Reynolds penalty but the Dragons responded swiftly with Ian Thornley pouncing on a Leigh error to race away for a try. Brayden Williame followed suit with a muscular effort from 10m out; a Walsh conversion ensued and the visitors led by eight points. Catalans didn’t stop there; Krisnan Inu, Louis Anderdson and Richie Myler all finished off well-worked moves, and with Walsh adding the extras before a Curtis Naughton reply for Leigh, the Catalunian side went into the break with a 28-8 lead.
Leigh struck back after the break in the form of a Dayne Weston walk-in. Tony Gigot then finished off yet another piece of champagne rugby from the Dragons to reinstate their 20-point lead. Leigh staged a comeback late on with tries from Greg McNally and Sam Hopkins, but the Catalans side were too far in front to be caught, with the game ending 37-26 in favour of the Dragons.
The Catalans Dragons strengthened all over the park in the off-season, and while they lost Glenn Stuart and Dave Taylor from the forwards, they gained Greg Bird, Luke Burgess and Sam Moa. Although only Sam Moa plays on Wednesday, the Dragons still boast a very strong pack, with the inclusion of Louis Anderson, Julian Bousquet, Remi Casty and Ben Garcia. In order to be in with a chance of winning this one, Huddersfield have to match the Dragons’ massive pack. As always, Danny Brough will be key for the Giants- as we saw against St. Helens where Brough had a hand in 2 of the Giants’ tries. However, the inclusion of Jake Mamo will give another playmaking option to the Giants, which can only help them and their distinct lack of points this season.
Catalans looked to have hit their stride last time out making Leigh look very ordinary, and another away win could get their season back on track. If Catalans travel, it is hard to see Huddersfield getting a look in. However, if the Giants get stuck in they can turn a game around in the blink of an eye with Brough at the helm. The Giants will be buoyed after pulling back the game against Saints, but the Dragons showed a lot of class last weekend and have too many points in them for Huddersfield, who average only 15.3 points per game.
Catalans Dragons by 12
Huddersfield Giants: Danny Brough, Paul Clough, Leroy Cudjoe, Tyler Dickinson, Lee Gaskell, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Kruise Leeming, Jake Mamo, Nathan Mason, Jermaine McGillvary, Darnell McIntosh, Alex Mellor, Aaron Murphy, Sam Rapira, Oliver Roberts, Tom Symonds, Shannon Wakeman, Sam Wood.
Catalans Dragons: Paul Aiton, Lucas Albert, Louis Anderson, Lambert Belmas, Thomas Bosc, Julian Bousquet, Rémi Casty, Vincent Duport, Ben Garcia, Tony Gigot, Krisnan Inu, Thibaud Margalet, Sam Moa, Richie Myler, Paul Seguier, Mickael Simon, Iain Thornley, Luke Walsh, Brayden Wiliame.
Referee: Chris Campbell
Venue: The John Smith’s Stadium
Date/Time: Wednesday 12th April 2017 – 8:00pm GMT