Cup glory counts for nothing, insists Purtill, as ‘dangerous’ Widnes await

Kieron Purtill
Kieron Purtill
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DEFEATING champions Leeds Rhinos twice already this season is not enough for aspiring Huddersfield Giants.

They are acutely aware such significant scalps will be rendered pointless unless they can back them up consistently with victories over other sides – such as tonight’s hosts Widnes Vikings.

While last week’s epic Challenge Cup success over Leeds kept them on course for Wembley, reminding doubters the Fartowners can handle big occasions, assistant coach Kieron Purtill knows it is crucial they maintain such high standards for their return to Super League where they sit in second spot.

Widnes may be down in 11th but he knows they are particularly potent at home on their controversial artificial surface.

“After such a big emotional and physical game last Saturday, we need to make sure we react and move on,” said Purtill.

“This is now a different competition and playing over at Widnes won’t be easy because they are a different team when they play at home compared to when away.

“The ball definitely moves different on that pitch, you also travel different and your change of direction is different. Those little things affect how you play.

“Widnes train on it every week, so they know all the tricks. They also get some good home support over there which means it’s like a fortress and they will be a difficult team to beat.”

Three of their hosts’ five wins so far have come at Naughton Park, Warrington and Hull FC both having fallen there, while Bradford Bulls could only manage a draw.

Widnes, of course, have ex-Huddersfield captain Kevin Brown pulling the strings at stand-off and Purtill added: “We know him all too well and he commands a lot of ball for them on their left-hand side.

“They will miss Gaz Hock as he’s banned, but Jon Clarke is also playing very well and he has really moved their team forward.

“They have some good young players too so we know it will be a tough game and we need to be on the ball to get the victory.”

Giants are without Joe Wardle, who starts his two-game ban, while Jacob Fairbank has joined Bradford on a month’s loan.

However, Warrington hooker Brad Dwyer’s loan is extended on a week-to-week basis and he returns after being cup-tied.