Challenge Cup final match report: Huddersfield Giants 16 - 25 Warrington Wolves
Giants bitten by Wolves
HUDDERSFIELD Giants suffered Wembley heartache after failing to deliver on the biggest of stages.
Despite going into their Challenge Cup final against Warrington in great shape and with confidence high on the back of such a magnificent season, coach Nathan Brown’s men proved a shadow of the usual Class of 2009.
Their normally rock-solid defence looked flimsy, while they were unable to demonstrate any sort of attacking edge because of the amount of ball they dropped.
It was, without doubt, in complete contrast to the performance that brought them their stunning semi-final success over St Helens and had raised hopes of Huddersfield lifting the Challenge Cup for the first time since 1953.
It’s possible the below-par display could have been due to too many players suffering the big freeze or a touch of over-confidence given the respective form of the two teams but, for whatever reason, this just wasn’t the Giants’ day.
At the same time, Warrington were right on top of their game, both defensively and offensively, and were to produce the sort of performance that has been lacking for so much of their Super League season.
The end result was, therefore, almost inevitable.
It was, however, inevitable Warrington were going to come out strongly after it had been the key to their semi-final success over Wigan.
But despite a solid opening first five drives, the Giants’ hopes of containing any early charge were shattered.
Brett Hodgson’s attempted kick downfield was charged down by Louis Anderson, and although the Giants skipper got back to catch his man after it did appear the Wolves man may have knocked-on in securing possession, the ball was swiftly worked out for Richie Mathers to crash over under the posts.
Chris Bridge converted, and Huddersfield were immediately on the back foot.
But within six minutes they had managed to settle to the task and a Shaun Lunt effort was only wiped out after the video referee ruled a double movement.
Two minutes later, however, the Cumbrian hooker wasn’t to be denied as he collected Brett Hodgson’s pass after outstanding work from David Faiumu to race away to score and for Hodgson to add the goal.
At 6-6 it looked as if the Giants were right back on track.
Unfortunately, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Straight from the kick-off Darrell Griffin lost possession on the first tackle and within seconds the position had been created for Lance Todd man-of-the-match winner Michael Monaghan to cross from acting half-back from close range with the minimum of effort.
Bridge again goaled and, with Huddersfield looking shaky in extreme both in attack and defence, it was no great surprise when Warrington added their third try.
From the restart, Lee Briers’ clever kick downfield was collected by Chris Riley to make ground before he was held down and Huddersfield were penalised for lying on.
And within a couple of plays from the tap, Bridge had fed Chris Hicks to finish off in the corner and run round for Bridge to bang over an easier conversion.