After yesterdays sensational Magic Weekend games you could be forgiven that the dead rubber between the Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity was an uninteresting ‘dead rubber’ with both sides safe from relegation, but neither able to trouble the play-off places, but with local pride and bragging rights to play for there was every chance that the opening game of day two from Newcastle would be a cracker.
The sides came into the game level on win percentage and with the Giants on a slightly better points difference than Trinity and that was reflected in the odds with the bookies making the Claret and Golds the slight favourites and handicapping them by four points on the coupon.
The game started as last nights had finished with a terrific Olly Ashall-Bott twenty metre break and pass inside to Will Pryce for the half-back to go fifty metres and outpace the chasers and score just to the left of the uprights. Pryce converted his own try for an early 6-0 lead.
It took just under ten minutes for Trinity to get their first of the game, a Tom Johnstone trademark one-handed flying try by the left corner flag off a fast pass from Ryan Hampshire. Mason Lino brilliantly added the touchline conversion to level the scores.
The lead swung to Wakefield on fourteen with Hampshire on hand to collect the spoils of a high kick which Ashall-Bott was unable to gather, the Trinity full-back sprinting ten metres for the try. Lino added the conversion for 12-6.
After twenty minutes of intense, end to end football, hostilities broke out on thirty-three with Sam Hewitt and David Fifita given lectures by the referee who kept his cards in his pocket.
A second effort on Fifita as he tried to regain his feet twenty from the Giants line was an easy penalty for Lino and with just a few seconds remaining it was the boot of the Trinity half-back who increased the lead to 14-6 at the break.
After being a little bit of trouble in the first half for leading into the tackle with his elbow, Hewitt committed the same offence and this time saw the referee’s yellow card.
The twelve men were embattled in defence and on forty-six Kalepi Tanginoa shrugged off two tackles to force the ball onto the ground, although the video replays hinted that the ball might have slipped from his grasp in the act of scoring. Lino added the conversion for 20-6 as Wakefield started to move out of sight.
Sam Wood grabbed the Giants a glimmer of hope on sixty-two after he leapt to collect a high kick to the corner one-handed and after going initially to ground regaining his feet to dove over. Pryce added the conversion for 12-20.
Wakefield closed the game out on sixty-seven when Reece Lyne took a pass five out, showed a cute dummy, and stepped inside to score. Lino added the conversion and the lead was back to fourteen points, the Giants needing a Dragons style fightback.
Josh Jones showed great determination to back his way over the line from five metres out to force the ball onto the ground for a third Giants try. Pryce again added the conversion for 18-26 with five minutes remaining.
Any hoped of a late Giants fightback were extinguished when Chris Green took a short ball from Battye to go between two tacklers and ground under the sticks from three metres out to secure Willie Poching’s fourth win in five games as coach. Lino added the conversion for 32-18.
Willie Poching has got his side well drilled in defence and attack and they were deserving of the win over their near neighbours and arch-rivals who have had an awful season by their recent standards. Controlling the game, almost from the outset, they never looked in danger of losing against a Giants side who couldn’t find the right gear and who are now destined to finish third from bottom.
Huddersfield Giants: Ashall-Bott, Cudjoe, Wardle, Leutele, Wood (T), Pryce (T, 3G), Russell, Trout, Peats, Greenwood, McQueen, Jones (T), Lawrence. Subs: English, Cogger, Hewitt (SB on 43), Peteru.
Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire (T), Johnstone (T), Lyne (T), Arundel, Kershaw, Lino (6G), Miller, Battye, Kay, Green (T), Pitts, Tanginoa (T), Westerman. Subs: Wood K, Fifita, Crowther, Batchelor.
Referee: Ben Thaler.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-6, 6-10, 6-12, 6-14 : HT : (SB), 6-18, 6-20, 10-20, 12-20, 12-24, 12-26, 16-26, 18-26, 18-30, 18-32: FT.