The first meeting of the season between West Yorkshire rivals Wakefield Trinity and the Huddersfield Giants found the two-side experiencing diverse fortunes so far in 2022 as both sides strive for the play-offs.
The Giants were in sixth position in the table after ten rounds and came into the game knowing that a win would lift them above both Hull clubs and into the top four, a win for Wakefield would see them up one place into ninth before the rest of the round takes place over the coming days.
The bookies were struggling to separate the sides, the home side getting a four-point start on the handicap coupon.
Beautiful work by Lewis Murphy down the left wing saw the winger tackled but from the play the ball Wakefield went left, and the ball ended up in the hands of Tom Johnstone who grounded in the corner, but the video referee ruled foot in touch, Wakefield´s intentions clear.
A Jacob Miller 40-20 on thirteen minutes, followed quickly by a penalty for offside, gave Wakefield a gild edged opportunity. Four tackles in from the penalty Mason Lino took a scrappy ball and dropped the shoulder, throwing the dummy, to run in on the angle from ten metres out. Lino converted his own try for a 6-0 lead.
On twenty-three Chris McQueen bounced off a couple of attempted tackles to go in from ten metres out and ground under the tackle. Oliver Russell was unable to convert from wide, his side still trailing by two points.
The Giants earned a penalty when Innes Senior was taken out while chasing a high kick on thirty-eight and after getting a set restart for lying on Theo Fages put in a low grubber on the second tackle, but it was swallowed up by the Wakefield defence. Wakefield went on the offensive and after taking a great pass from Jai Whitbread, Murphy danced through the broken Giants defence to score a spectacular try. Lino added the conversion and Wakefield took a 12-4 lead into the interval.
Good pressure from Huddersfield at the start of the second half suggested that they´d had a half time roasting from their coach. On forty-five minutes Luke Yates finally found a way over the line as he dived in from close range. Russell added the conversion from close to the sticks and the arrears were down to just two points.
But rather than build on their early second half momentum a more resolute Wakefield defence until on sixty-five minutes Ricky Leutele went through a gap chasing a Fages grubber kick to collect and ground in the left corner. Russell pushed his kick across the front of the uprights, but the Giants were in the front for the first time in the game.
An attempted Miller 40-20 with four minutes remaining when directly into touch and gifted possession back to the Giants who ran the clock down to a hard fought victory.
The Murphy try on the stroke of half time looked to have been a killer blow for Trinity, but the Giants came out for the second half looking like a different outfit and ground out a performance which saw them take the lead and keep Wakefield scoreless in the second forty. The Giants have climbed the ladder to fourth ahead of Hull FC and Hull KR playing later in the round. Wakefield will now need points from their next two games against Toulouse and Leeds Rhinos or they will find themselves in all sorts of trouble.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Murphy (T), Lyne, Hall, Johnstone, Miller, Lino (T, G), Tanginoa, Bowes, Arona, Ashurst, Pitts, Batchelor. Subs: Fifita, Whitbread, Kay, Crowther.
Huddersfield Giants: Golding, Wardle, Cudjoe, Leutele (T), Senior I, Fages, Russell (G), English, Levi, Wilson, Ashworth, McQueen (T), Yates (T). Subs: Lawrence, Jones, Greenwood, Trout.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 10-4, 12-4 : HT : 12-8, 12-10, 12-14 : FT.
Referee: Tom Grant.