Huddersfield Giants marked the opening of the second day of the Magic Weekend with an 18-10 victory over Catalans Dragons. Rick Stone’s men had to bide their time in securing just their second win in 10, but the result brings them to within two points of the top eight. Four things we learned from the result:
Scrappiest contest of the season?
The fourth game at St James’ Park was possibly the scrappiest game of the season, and saw the sides amount just a 6-6 scoreline at the break. The opening 15 minutes suggested otherwise, however, as half-backs Richie Myler and Lee Gaskell exchanged tries for Catalans and Huddersfield respectively. But the tie soon fell away as both sides became wasteful – perhaps summed up by the only other first-half being Martin Ridyard’s last-minute penalty goal level the scores.
Inspired last ten for the Giants
The game continued in similar fashion throughout the second period after Laurent Frayssinous’ Dragons took the lead through Iain Thornley just shy of the 50-minute mark. A poor 20 minutes followed before a crucial last 10 saw Sam Rapira cross and Adam O’Brien scoot over from dummy-half to send the French side to a fifth consecutive defeat.
Bottom four material?
It was immediately apparent that both sides are definite contenders for bottom four rugby league after 23 rounds – their failure to string plays together is poles apart from the likes of Castleford and Salford who look dangerous every time they go forward. For Huddersfield, the pairing of Jake Mamo and Danny Brough is crucial if the Giants are to make the top eight. And while Mamo helped his side to victory against the Dragons, the latter was absent in Newcastle – the two combined perfectly to defeat Leeds at Headingley earlier in the season.
Strong Catalans side failing to gel
Catalans welcomed back Greg Bird and Luke Walsh for this year’s Magic Weekend tie, while full-back Tony Gigot continued at full-back since his return from his drugs ban. But a strong back line has struggled this season, something that will concern coach Frayssinous. Forward Julian Bousquet impressed once more as his offload set up his side’s first try but his efforts weren’t enough to galvanise his teammates to victory.
Catalans Dragons 10
Tries: Richie Myler (x1), Iain Thornley (x1)
Goals: Luke Walsh (x1)
Huddersfield Giants: 18
Tries: Lee Gaskell (x1), Sam Rapira (x1), Adam O’Brien (x1)
Goals: Martin Ridyard (x3)