HUDDERSFIELD Giants found the perfect response to last week’s defeat by champions Wigan Warriors with a thoroughly-deserved victory at Hull KR.
It may not have been a vintage display, with too many basic errors and cheap penalties conceded for that.
But it was still a win which has hopefully shown the Wigan loss was simply a minor blip.
Although there were times against the Robins when Nathan Brown’s men made hard work of it, they were still far more powerful, faster and fitter than their hosts and always looked to have that little bit more to offer when required.
That was particularly the case in the final quarter when the visitors were in complete control, with half-backs Danny Brough and Kevin Brown pulling the attacking strings with ease.
And their efforts came on the back of another dominant display by the forwards, in which in-form former Australia Test back-rower Luke O’Donnell once again led from the front.
But, as always seems the case with the Giants under Brown, it was the way the Giants played as a team which ultimately brought them their reward.
In fact, not only did Huddersfield have to contend with Rovers to stay in the top three in the table, they also had to survive a floodlight failure which at one point threatened to cause an abandonment!
Fortunately, that didn’t prove the case, and they weren’t denied the chance to top the 30-point mark for the third successive time at Craven Park.
At the same time, the men in claret and gold also inflicted further early-season damage on a Robins’ side who remain outside the top eight.
Rovers clearly missed influential trio Michael Dobson, Clint Newton and Michael Vella, with new signing Willie Mason unable to make up for the shortage of class on his third appearance for the club.
To be honest, on this evidence, the Giants’ Mason – of the Keith variety – appears to have far more to offer than the Mason of Rovers!
Yet having said all that., the Robins actually made the perfect start with the game’s first try after only two minutes, which came in the most unlikely fashion.
The ball ended up in the hands of Mason on the last tackle and his speculative kick bounced awkwardly for Huddersfield winger Jermaine McGillvary, enabling centre Kris Welham to pounce for the first of his two tries.
It proved to be Mason’s only real significant contribution. He went off after 26 minutes and, although he returned early in the second half, he was unable to make much of an impression on a hard-working Giants defence.
Craig Hall converted Welham’s try to put the home side 6-0 up, but the visitors struck twice in seven minutes to go in front.
McGillvary made amends for his error by taking Scott Grix’s long pass to score his sixth try in as many games, before scrum-half Danny Brough finished off a delightful break from hooker David Faiumu, with in-form full-back Grix once again also heavily involved.
Brough converted both tries to make it 12-6 after only 13 minutes, but Huddersfield spent most of the rest of the first half on defence.
McGillvary denied his opposite number Jake Webster with a last-ditch tackle at the corner and Rovers were unable to take advantage of four successive penalties while camped inside the Huddersfield 20m area.
One of the floodlights went out eight minutes before half-time and, although referee Steve Ganson allowed play to continue, the interval was extended by 10 minutes to enable the club’s electrician to fix the problem. When play eventually restarted, Huddersfield quickly made up for lost time byworking a sweet move to their left and the ever-dangerous Brown and Lee Gilmour combined to get Michael Lawrence over for their third try.
Brough’s third goal made it 18-6, but the visitors’ lead was cut when hooker Ben Fisher twisted out of a two-man tackle to score from dummy-half.
The Giants continued to look the more creative side and ought to have made more of clean breaks by Gilmour and Brown.
When they finally made sure of the win it was courtesy of a lucky score, but was nothing more than they deserved.
Brough’s grubber kick took a deflection off defender Blake Green into the path of Gilmour. He hacked the ball on and Rovers winger Peter Fox was unable to prevent the alert Brough getting the final touch.
Welham grabbed a second try and Scott Murrell kicked the goal to give the Robins renewed hope, but the Giants made sure of the points when England international Luke Robinson broke free from dummy-half to send Grix over for their fifth try.
And Huddersfield finished with a flourish when Robinson forced his way over from dummy-half and Brough, who finished with 16 points, fashioned a seventh try for winger David Hodgson.