Huddersfield Giants continued their great form to finish the regular season with a 40-28 home win over Wakefield Trinity.
Jermaine McGillvary scored a hat-trick for a second week running as the Giants picked up a ninth win in ten matches to climb up to fifth in the Super League table.
The Giants had the lead after just four minutes with a well-worked try, creating an overload for Jordan Turner to play in Jordan Rankin, but were soon pegged back as Ben Jones-Bishop claimed a Ryan Hampshire chip to level the scores.
Matty Ashurst was sent to the bin for dissent for the visitors, and in those ten minutes Huddersfield regained a lead that they never relinquished with Alex Mellor getting through two defenders to crash over.
A great offload from Leroy Cudjoe allowed McGillvary to score his first and extend the lead, before Wakefield got a score back from the determined drive of Bill Tupou.
The Giants were 20 points ahead at the break though with two more tries, first in the left corner after a spectacular dive from Darnell McIntosh, and then McGillvary again on the other edge after Cudjoe knocked Lee Gaskell’s pass to him.
They got two more scores in the second half as well, as McGillvary completed his treble with another great finish in the corner before Ukuma Ta’ai charged over the line.
Wakefield got two tries back in quick succession as Pauli Pauli and Justin Horo both went over, but the Giants were able to see the game out and avoid any further damage until the final minute when Tom Johnstone finished off Jacob Miller’s grubber for a consolation try.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Right edge a huge threat
McGillvary is an England international for a very good reason and he has proved that in the last couple of weeks with six tries, having scored only four all season before then.
With decent service he is a fantastic finisher, and with Giants captain Leroy Cudjoe back in the side to partner him on the right edge there is a well-established partnership working perfectly.
Giants the most likely to push top four
These sides came into the game level on points, and if either side were to make a push for the top four it appeared that victory here would be essential.
The Giants claimed it and in some style, and in the form they are in there is every reason to hold an ambition that a couple of months ago would have seemed like lunacy to suggest.
Man of the Match – Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield)
It has to be the star winger, who is in tremendous form after what has been a difficult season with injury and the form of players around him.
The combination of Gaskell and Danny Brough is becoming a highly effective one and both of those players were on top form, while Cudjoe is returning to his best too, which all gives McGillvary the perfect platform to do what he does best.
Huddersfield Giants 40
Tries: Rankin, Mellor, McGillvary (3), McIntosh, Ta’ai
Goals: Brough (6)
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield Trinity 28
Tries: Jones-Bishop, Tupou, Pauli, Horo, Johnstone
Goals: Hampshire (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Huddersfield: Rankin; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, McIntosh; Gaskell, Brough; Clough, O’Brien, Lawrence; Mellor, Murphy, Ferguson.
Interchanges: Hinchcliffe, Ta’ai, English, Roberts.
Wakefield: Jowitt; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone; Miller, Hampshire; Hirst, Randell, Fifita; Batchelor, Ashurst, Horo.
Interchanges: Annakin, Pauli, Huby, Arona.
Referee: Robert Hicks