Huddersfield Giants boss Ian Watson reacts to Jake Connor incident in dramatic defeat at St Helens

Huddersfield Giants boss Ian Watson has defended Jake Connor following his costly lapse in Thursday's dramatic 13-12 defeat at St Helens.

Connor was involved in a running battle with Daryl Clark in the second half of an absorbing contest and switched off to allow the Saints hooker to level the scores after appearing to be struck by Morgan Knowles.

The Giants full-back turned his back to remonstrate with referee Liam Moore, giving Clark the space he needed to scamper over.

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Jonny Lomax went on to win the match for the home side with a long-range drop goal in the dying seconds to complete their comeback from 12-0 down.

Watson was keen to focus on Connor's contribution to Huddersfield's recent upturn in form but is seeking answers over an incident that turned the game.

"I'd like to see it again because he seemed to stand up and lash out at Jake Connor," said the Giants boss. "Play has carried on and it's cost us.

"Jake has to concentrate on the play that's happening and let the referee ref the game. At the same time, if Jake Connor lashes out at somebody, it would be interesting to see if the referee lets the play go on there.

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"Jake has come a real long way in terms of his character. The one thing I like about Jake is he's been getting positives for the way he's been performing.

Ian Watson's side pushed St Helens all the way. (Photo: Paul Currie/ Watson's side pushed St Helens all the way. (Photo: Paul Currie/
Ian Watson's side pushed St Helens all the way. (Photo: Paul Currie/

"Before there was a lot of hype about Jake being the bad boy and being in people's faces. He's not done that this year and he's performed the right way.

"If you get whacked in the face, you’re going to partition the ref. I know if one of our players did that to a St Helens player, the game might have been stopped.

"Jake has been outstanding and I wouldn't want something like that to take away from what he's been doing."

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Connor helped Huddersfield race into a commanding lead inside the opening 13 minutes through tries from former Saints stars Kevin Naiqama and Adam Swift.

St Helens celebrate a hard-fought win. (Photo: Paul Currie/ Helens celebrate a hard-fought win. (Photo: Paul Currie/
St Helens celebrate a hard-fought win. (Photo: Paul Currie/

But they slowly lost their grip on the game and gave St Helens a helping hand along the way with Connor and Tui Lolohea gifting the hosts tries, the latter seeing a looping pass intercepted by Tommy Makinson.

Watson felt the difference in big-game experience showed as his team's five-match winning run came to an end.

"The one thing I don't want to do is spoil the spectacle of the game," added Watson. "I thought it was a real tough game.

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"It was two different halves. We were the better team in the first half and second half Saints were.

"Saints are used to being in them tight games and have come through the other side but I think we deserved it.

“The character and resilience we showed was outstanding. Even the barrage Saints threw on us in the second half, to concede on a dummy-half carry was disappointing but that’s the only way they broke us down.

“We can take the confidence out of it with the way we’ve played in the last few weeks."

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