IF ANYONE still needed convincing about the quality of the youngsters at the Giants, then Wakefield Trinity Wildcats was the place to be.
Although Huddersfield fielded what was essentially a ‘reserve’ side, they were still too strong for Wakefield’s Super League squad.
The young visitors were the dominant force for much of the contest and a winning margin of 24-16 was the least coach Paul Anderson’s side deserved.
They looked fitter, stronger and more enthusiastic than their hosts, both in attack and defence, and on another day could have easily added to their tally.
Apart from Darrell Griffin, Danny Kirmond, Shaun Lunt, Larne Patrick and Andy Raleigh, who only lasted 10 minutes before he was withdrawn with a badly cut eye, the Giants on show had little or no experience of facing established Super League players.
But that didn’t show at any stage of the game, with several Wakefield fans heard to mutter at various points of how pleased they were not to be facing Huddersfield’s first team!
Having said that, however, this is a time when the Wildcats do deserve a fair degree of sympathy.
Their players went into the contest just days after hearing their club was facing a third winding-up order in the space of 12 months.
It was no surprise, therefore, that it took them some time to get into their stride.
And by that time, their buoyant opponents had already opened up a 12-0 lead inside 15 highly-impressive minutes.
Within the opening exchanges the fit-again Lunt had proved beyond doubt he had recovered from a double hernia operation by tearing the Wildcat’s defence apart at will, with the most telling contribution coming after five minutes.
The hooker’s break from halfway caught the home defence flat-footed.
Even though the supporting Greg Johnson was subsequently caught by the cover, the space had opened up for the ball to be swept across to the right for Joe Wardle to race through.
Gregg McNally added a superb touchline conversion, and the Giants looked in the mood.
A brilliant piece of individual skill from lively scrum half Kyle Wood almost gave Jamie Cording a try three minutes later.
But there was to be no denying the Giants in the 15th minute when more great approach play enabled Lunt to crash over through heavy traffic close to the line for converted try No2.
In complete comparison to Huddersfield, the Wildcats were struggling to make an impact, and it wasn’t until the stroke of half-time they were able to open their account when experienced captain Glenn Morrison burst over from 15m.
Josh Veivers – the son of former Giants captain and coach Phil – added the conversion, and at 12-6 the game was well poised.
A strong Wakefield start to the second half failed to gain reward against the Giants’ impressive defence.
And when Wardle worked the position to send Johnson racing away for another converted try in the corner, Huddersfield threatened to take complete control again.
Yet that proved the moment for the visitors to introduce some of the youngest members of the squad, and the experienced Wildcats took full advantage to run in tries through Kevin Penny and Sam Obst, one of which Veivers goaled, to reduce the deficit to two points.
Fortunately, however, the youngsters refused to wave the white flag, and with 13 minutes remaining Wardle again created the opportunity for Johnson to finish in style for mcNally to bang over the extras.
Cording and Wakefield’s Kevin Henderson were then sent to the sin-bin in close succession for holding down during a frenetic finale.
And there was still time for Johnson to pull off a try-saving tackle on Penny.
But the young Giants held on with some comfort to secure a morale-boosting pre-season triumph that will live long in the memory.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Veivers; Penny, Dean, Murphy, Millard; Jeffries, Obst; Korkidas, Lee, Johnson, Howarth, Ferguson,. Morrison. Subs: Hyde, Rinaldi,. Wildie, Mariano, Spiers, Henderson, King.
Tries: Morrison (39), Penny (57), Obst (60).
Goals: Veivers 2 from 3.
Huddersfield Giants:.McNally; Johnson, Wardle, Cording, J Griffin; Wood, Carlile; D Griffin, Lunt, Raleigh, Kirmond, Molloy, Fairbank. Subs: Patrick, Walker, Sarsfield, Whiteley, Ansell, Orwell.
Tries: Wardle (5), Lunt (15), Johnson (53 & 67).
Goals: McNally 4 from 4.
Referee: Ben Thaler.