INFLUENTIAL Huddersfield Giants captain Danny Brough notched up his 100th career try to finally break the resilience of fatigued Hull KR.
Rovers were playing their third game in just 11 days but, in fairness, initially didn’t look too jaded as they trailed just 18-10 early in the second half yesterday.
However, Brough – the hosts’ stellar captain – was then on hand to finish off a brilliant midfield dart from hooker Kyle Wood to mark his ton and their opponents duly faded.
With the second period being played in torrential rain and Huddersfield gradually turning the screw as the masterful Brough also delivered his full kicking repertoire, it was always going to be enough to end Hull KR’s four-match winning run and see the Challenge Cup semi-finalists replacd in the top eight by Hull FC
The visitors’ hopes of extending their winning sequence were certainly not helped after a report in the Mail On Sunday stated prop Adam Walker was at the centre of a police investigation over allegations he tried to groom two 14-year-old girls for sex.
Hull KR said the report was inaccurate and the Scotland international maintains his innocence but, given the circumstances, they decided to stand him down for this match at the 24-year-old’s former club.
Huddersfield – who have lost just one of their last 1o league matches and have moved to within just a point of third-placed Wigan Warriors – would have been forgiven for thinking they might have an easier than normal job against Chris Chester’s side after their hectic schedule.
However, a combination of their own profligacy and Hull KR’s ability to score with almost their only two chances of the half, meant the West Yorkshire team, who conversely had not played in a fortnight, led only 16-10 at the break.
Brough, typically, was central to all their best moments.
The stand-off’s grubber led to the game’s opening try after just eight minutes, John Boudebza spilling the ball behind his own line as Brough chased down his own chip and Michael Lawrence capitalised.
After their first penalty, Rovers quickly replied when Kris Welham ran on to Maurice Blair’s long pass but then Boudebza sent a forward pass early in the restart set to heap more pressure on his side.
Soon after, his fellow Frenchman Kevin Larroyer embarrassingly dropped the ball direct from a scrum in front of his own posts and Aaron Murphy pounced for Brough to add the second of his three goals.
Huddersfield scrum-half Jamie Ellis should have added a third try but spilled over the line after a fine dart.
He wasted another opportunity after Jared Simpson had set him free, in the process gifting Rovers possession from which Albert Kelly wriggled through some poor defence for their second try on the half-hour, Josh Mantellato converting.
Brough restored order, however, when producing his second 40/20 kick of the first period.
Admittedly, Ken Sio almost intercepted his long pass in the following set and, if the Rovers winger had held on, he would probably have scored from 80m and put his side in front. He did not, though, and instead Huddersfield’s England centre Leroy Cudjoe exposed them for a 16-10 lead.
Brough showed his kicking prowess once more with a daring hanging short re-start as the second half got underway.
Giants won the ball back and then Brough’s latest well-measured grubber forced Ben Cockayne into conceding a drop-out. They didn’t score a try from that but, with the rain now driving down forcing spectators to scramble higher up the stands to cover, Brough did add a penalty.
Cudjoe unleashed Simpson only for the young full-back to throw another unnecessary pass as Graeme Horne dragged him down just short, but it mattered little as his captain was on hand soon after to finish off that excellent break from the lively Wood.
Yet Brough’s piece de resistance was still to come – a mesmerising pinpoint crossfield kick brilliantly executed for Jermaine McGillvary to score another try on the hour before Ukuma Ta’ai rounded things off, Ellis taking over kicking duties with Brough having fully warranted his breather and standing ovation when going off in the final minutes.
Blair’s own clever kick saw Mantellato cross in the 77th minute but Hull KR were long gone by that point and it is Huddersfield, who head to second-placed St Helens on Friday for a crucial contest, who maintain their recent good form.
Brough, meanwhile, has amassed his ton of tries with seven different sides – Dewsbury (four), York (20), Hull FC (three), Castleford (12), Wakefield (19), Huddersfield (37) and Scotland (four).
Huddersfield Giants: Simpson; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Murphy, Broughton; Brough, Ellis; Crabtree, Robinson, Huby, Wardle, Hughes, Lawrence. Substitutes: Kopczak, Wood, Ta’ai, Mullally.
Hull KR: Cockayne; Mantellato, Welham, Salter, Sio; Blair, Kelly; Puletua, Boudebza, Tilse, Larroyer, Horne, McCarthy. Substitutes: Greenwood, Green, Burke, Lunt.
Referee: R Hicks (Oldham).