Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Huddersfield Giants match report
LUCKY Huddersfield Giants used their ‘Get out of Jail’ card to secure the narrowest of victories at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
Jermaine McGillvary’s stunning hat trick of tries in the opening 44 minutes to make it 18-8 should have put the visitors in complete control and on the way to a routine fourth win out of four in Super League XVIII.
But instead the League leaders then almost inexplicably allowed the Wildcats back into the game and to within a whisker of grabbing a win that their efforts would have deserved.
And that would have been the case had referee Richard Silverwood not come to the Giants’ rescue and ruled Tim Smith’s last-minute try-scoring pass to Lee Smith was forward.
It was a decision that left the home fans incensed, and the large band of travelling Huddersfield supporters breathing a massive sigh of relief.
A week earlier, the claret and gold faithful had seen their favourites producing a heroic effort to keep out Wigan, and now they were forced to endure the same at Wakefield.
On both occasions, coach Paul Anderson’s men were up to the defensive task.
But if the Giants keep on gifting their opponents possession and are forced to defend and defend, it’ll surely be only a matter of time before they pay a heavy cost.
There was little to suggest early on this week would be the case, though.
Within minutes, the Giants were gaining the upper hand with two early McGillvary scores.
A break from deep by Danny Brough set the ball rolling after three minutes, creating the opening for Shaun Lunt and Luke Robinson to combine to send Jermaine McGillvary strolling over in the corner.
And three minutes later it was another Trinity ‘old boy’ in Scott Grix doing all the damage.
First of all, he cleverly kicked downfield after Wakefield had spilt possession for a ‘free play’ for Murphy to win the chase and gain an outstanding 50m.
Then at the end of the subsequent set – and just after Ferres had been held up over the tryline – Grix’s kick to the corner was gathered by McGillvary to add his second.
At 8-0, the Giants were looking very good value.
But within five minutes the hosts had struck back, with Ali Lauitiiti’s offload releasing Richard Mathers to race away and feed the supporting Peter Fox to finish off by the posts for Paul Sykes to convert.
That gave the Wildcats a huge lift, with the Giants twice having to drop-out from under their posts as coach Richard Agar’s men forced Huddersfield’s defence to reproduce the sort of heroics that had held Wigan out the week before.
Having weathered the storm, the Giants hit back themselves and Larne Patrick almost scored with his first touch after coming off the substitutes’ bench in the 25th minute, but was held up on the line. Then moments later Lunt lost possession in an attempt to score.
Given the tightness of the contest, it was no surprise the two sides then began to take penalty shots at goal, with Sykes levelling the scores before Brough responded with two of his own to make it 12-8 to the visitors at the break.
But it could so easily have been Wakefield who were ahead at the interval, with desperate last-ditch defence from Murphy, McGillvary and Leroy Cudjoe preventing Lee Smith what looked a certain try from a kick-through with 30 seconds remaining on the clock.
Having survived that late scare, Huddersfield started the second half the brighter and extended their lead within five minutes of the restart.
Substitute hooker David Faiumu was the inspiration, showing great skill to release Grix from inside his own half.
The full-back made great ground and then fed Brough, who was only denied by a bone-crunching Fox cover tackle.
But with the Wakefield defence stretched, the ball was worked out to Robinson who lobbed the ball out wide for McGillvary to complete a deserved hat trick.
Brough landed the touchline conversion and the lead was up to 10.
McGillvary’s joy turned to worry 10 minutes later, however, as he had to receive on-field treatment before being led off the field just as the Giants were forced to drop-out for a third time.
To add to Huddersfield’s concerns, the Wildcats struck back with 15 minutes remaining when a Dean Collis break from deep created the opportunity for the ball to be shifted to the left for Ben Cockayne to kick ahead for Lee Smith to pounce and score.
And the anxiety increased further eight minutes later when the ball was worked out to Cockayne to finish in the corner.
Sykes failed to convert and the lead had been reduced to a skinny two points.
But it could have been so much worse if referee Silverwood hadn’t ruled in the Giants’ favour in those last thrilling – and controversial – seconds.