Frustrated Huddersfield Giants coach Paul Anderson heaped praise on his side’s first-half performance in the 24-24 draw at Warrington Wolves – despite a fixture list which he feels is doing little for the Super League competition.

With Huddersfield’s early elimination from this season’s Challenge Cup competition, Anderson’s men have played just two games in a month.

They sat out the semi-final three weeks ago and were then taking a second break because of the Wembley final last weekend.

And Anderson feels that’s having a negative effect on the Super League competition at a time when the regular season is drawing to an exciting conclusion and the stakes are at their highest.

“The farcical way the competition is structured because of the Challenge Cup gives no teams fluency,” he said. “It’s not good for anyone.

“Every team’s having to do things differently because of the enforced breaks, and that’s the last thing we need.

“It’s break, game, break, game. And that’s at a time when teams are trying to prepare for the most important stage of the season.

“That’s certainly not an excuse we can use on our own, because it affects everyone. It’s something that needs to be looked at very closely.”

But despite the disrupted month, the Giants still produced one of their best first-half performances of the season at Warrington to work themselves into a 19-6 interval lead.

 

They then scored a fourth try at the start of the second period to extend their advantage to 23-6 before Warrington fought back to edge 24-23 ahead and Danny Brough levelled the scores with a last-minute drop goal.

And Anderson is determined to see his side build on another very encouraging start to a key contest.

“I couldn’t have asked for more from our boys in the first half,” added Anderson.

“That was another sign of what we can do when we control the ball. We completed 19 out of 21 sets, and if you do that you’ll always give yourself a chance.

“It was pretty similar at Wakefield the other week, when we started so strongly but failed to maintain the pressure.

“Obviously, the challenge now is for us to back up a strong first half with a strong second half.

“It’s clear that if we do that then we’ll be a very tough team to beat.”

Warrington had opened the scoring with O’Brien’s 18th-minute try before the Giants took complete control to score four unanswered tries through Chris Bailey, Ukuma Ta’ai, Shaun Lunt and Jodie Broughton to lead 23-6 early in the second period.

But when Warrington fought back to edge 24-23 ahead with 15 minutes remaining, the Wolves’ ex-Giants chief Tony Smith – who was able to report winger Rhys Evans had recovered from being knocked out after a sickening head blow in an attempt to score late in the contest – believes his side ought to have capitalised on their spirited comeback.

“If you watch the first half, it was a point won,” Smith said. “It was great entertainment but it’s not one I’m overly proud of as a coach.

“We’re disappointed with our first half. We weren’t far off, but just weren’t on it.

“We found some energy and some response and ways of speeding the game up. We showed some spirit to fight our way back in and should have managed things better and gone on to win it.

“The most important thing is that Rhys is okay. He was doing his best to seal the win for us but it was an awkward landing and there were a few anxious moments.”