Huddersfield continued their stunning form with a win over Hull FC. Here’s our verdict…
Huddersfield Giants’ stunning form continues as they moved three points off the play-offs places with a 26-6 win at home to Hull FC.
The first half remarkably passed without a single point, as both sides cancelled each other out down the middle and struggled to put sustained pressure on the opposition line.
Both had chances but couldn’t convert, as strong defence was combined with a high error rate in attack. At the time when teams usually start to kick their penalties neither chose to, but the lack of clinical edge remained as they went into the break at 0-0.
It took just four minutes of the second half to change that. A dropped ball close to their line gave the Giants a chance they couldn’t pass up, as Danny Brough played a grubber in behind the defence for Alex Mellor to take and score.
Suddenly the defence was all at sea. Adam O’Brien was allowed to break from halfway almost straight from the restart, and he found Lee Gaskell in support to run in for a second try.
If the error for the first try was criminal then things got far worse, as Hull knocked on under no pressure at the play the ball a metre from their own line. When Gaskell was then taken out late, Brough chose to kick the penalty which, added to his two conversions, put the Giants 14-0 up.
The Black and Whites found a way back into the game though, with Bureta Faraimo a one-man wrecking ball as he cut inside and barged through the defence for his side’s first points.
They had their opportunities to close the gap further but couldn’t convert, and Huddersfield looked to play the game out smartly before getting the next try with nine minutes left to seal it.
They had been pushing for a while and the quality needed came from Jermaine McGillvary, who got a brilliant offload away after running inside for Ryan Hinchcliffe to score.
There was still time for another as well, as Ukuma Ta’ai forced his way through tired tackles to reach the line.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Big score? Not quite
The recent form of the respective teams had many speculating a big score for the home side, so it was certainly a surprise that this game became the first to be 0-0 at half-time this season.
Both sides had some chances but Huddersfield were producing errors on the ball every time they reached Hull’s 10m, while the visitors’ lack of creative options in the absence of their top three half-backs was clear to see.
The Giants managed to sharpen up at the start of the second half as back-to-back tries got the job done, before they withstood Hull pressure and saw the game out professionally.
Play-offs within reach
The win takes Huddersfield within four points of the play-off places, and on a run of 11 wins in 12 matches you would be a fool to bet against them making it.
This was far from their best performance, but they’re showing an ability to pick up the two points regardless of what the opposition throw at them from week to week, and although this one was a tough grind they kept at it and got the rewards.
Man of the Match – Ukuma Ta’ai (Huddersfield)
It was a forward’s game and Huddersfield had several who performed well, but Ta’ai certainly stood out with his strong carries and tireless work rate.
He’s a massive player in size and importance for the Giants, and he fully deserved his try at the end as well.
Huddersfield Giants 26
Tries: Mellor, Gaskell, Hinchcliffe, Ta’ai
Goals: Brough (4), McIntosh
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull FC 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Huddersfield: Rankin; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, McIntosh; Gaskell, Brough; Matagi, O’Brien, Ta’ai; Mellor, Roberts, Hinchcliffe.
Interchanges: Ferguson, Clough, Leeming, Roche.
Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Griffin, Tuimavave, Talanoa; Abdull, Harris; Taylor, Houghton, Paea; Manu, Minichiello, Hadley.
Interchanges: Green, Bienek, Washbrook, Lane.
Referee: Robert Hicks