ONE down, five to go.

Huddersfield Giants predictably overcame the challenge of doomed Halifax with the minimum of fuss to keep their Super League play-off dreams alive.

If the McAlpine side can win their remaining five matches, then that dream may become a reality.

Quite clearly, last night's assignment will be the most straight forward in the Giants' glory quest.

But the nature of this latest success - the club's record Super League win - suggests that coach Tony Smith's men will approach the last few games in relatively good shape, as well as good heart.

Not only did the Giants win at a canter, scoring 10 tries for the first time in a Super League match, they were also allowed to take their foot off the gas in order to preserve vital energy for the crucial battles that still lie ahead.

Furthermore, Smith used some of his star men who were still carrying knocks, sparingly.

That, for instance, explained why Brandon Costin and Steve McNamara were substituted in the opening half.

What point was there in running the risk of aggravating their shoulder and calf injuries respectively when the game was already won?

A similar philosophy was also employed in the second half to keep Stanley Gene refreshed for the remaining games, although he was allowed to return in the closing stages and repaid his coach by completing a hat trick in the last minute.

The ease at which the Papua New Guinean surged through the Halifax defence for that final score underlined the difference in class between the two sides and showed why the Giants derby rivals are going down, their fate being confirmed last night.

Although this young and inexperienced Halifax side did play with bags of enthusiasm, there was simply no way they were going to compete with their battle-hardened visitors. How times have changed!

Even when Lee Finnerty crashed over for a well-worked try, converted by Liam Finn, to give the home side the lead after four minutes, few Giants alarm bells were ringing.

That shock score merely cranked Huddersfield into life and by the 14th minute the game was virtually over as a contest.

Darren Fleary opened his side's account in the 10th minute after latching on to a great Jim Gannon pass out of the tackle to explode to the line.

Then Iain Morrison outjumped on-loan Giants winger Rikki Sheriffe to send Brandon Costin over for his 19th try of the season before Gene's break set up the position for Julian Bailey to cruise through.

McNamara added two of the conversions and a 16-6 lead had been established - a lead that never remotely looked like being threatened.

Try No4 came in the 25th minute and will definitely go down as the try of the game.

Eorl Crabtree's aggressive run to the line caused complete havoc in the Halifax defence and he smartly fed Paul White who showed absolutely amazing pace to finish off under the posts.

McNamara again goaled and repeated the act five minutes later as Jarrod O'Doherty pounced on a loose ball over the line to score his first try for the club.

Lee Greenwood broke the pattern inthe 33rd minute by collecting a McNamara bomb on his own line and racing the length of the field to score a second converted try for Halifax.

But on the stroke of half-time Ben Roarty kicked ahead for Hefin O'Hare to get the vital touch and make it 32-12 at the break.

Within two minutes of the restart the lead was further extended as White and Bailey combined to send O'Hare over for his second.

Bloem and Crabtree were both held up on the line before Gene grabbed the first of a powerful second-half hat trick in the 47th minute.

Almost carbon copies were scored in the 54th and 78th minutes as the Giants appeared to spend the vast majority of the time going through the motions.

Mick Slicker almost opened his season's tryscoring account in the 75th minute but was held up over the line, while Bailey produced an outstanding defensive effort to deny Chris Norman.

But with the two League points having been gathered well before the half-time hooter, attentions were clearly already starting to focus on Wakefield at the McAlpine next Sunday.


Giants: Reilly, O'Hare, Costin, Bailey, St Hilaire, Gene, White, Fleary, McNamara, Gannon, Morrison, Roarty, O'Doherty; Slicker, Crabtree, Turner, Bloem

Halifax: Finnerty, Greenwood, Norman, Clayton, Sheriffe, Finn, Penkywicz, Harmon, Lawless, Smith, Chapman, Brocklehurst, W Corcoran; Davidson, G Corcoran, Maye, Attwood


ONCE again the Papua New Guinean was his side's major attacking force, setting up several first-half tries and racing in for a hat trick of his own after the break.


THREE tries between the 10th and 14th minutes put the Giants firmly in control after Halifax had taken a shock fourth-minute lead. From 6-0 down, the visitors were 16-6 ahead and the result was a foregone conclusion.


Halifax. Tries: Finnerty (4mins), Greenwood (33mins). Goals: Finn 2 from 2.

Huddersfield. Tries: Fleary (10mins), Costin (12mins), Bailey (14mins), White (25mins), O'Doherty (30mins), O'hare (39mins & 42mins), Gene (47mins, 54mins & 79mins). Goals: McNamara 5 from 8, Bloem 2 from 2.

Half-time: 12-32.

Referee: Ian Smith (Oldham).

Attendance: 2,473.

Scrums won: Halifax 10, Giants 6.

Pens conceded: Halifax 8, Giants 7.

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