Huddersfield Giants 14 Wakefield Trinity 35: Wildcats heap misery on Giants

Ben Cockayne  of Wakefield crashes over to score.
Ben Cockayne of Wakefield crashes over to score.
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A SIMPLE half-time message from Wakefield coach Richard Agar was acted upon perfectly by his players as they ensured Huddersfield Giants’ torment continued further.

Both sides had struggled retaining possession yesterday in a largely low-quality affair.

However, when Wakefield finally corrected that side of their game they showed some real class through the likes of half-back pairing Paul Sykes and Tim Smith to ruthlessly slice open hosts who are clearly desperately low on confidence.

Huddersfield – with Paul Anderson now at the helm following Nathan Brown’s removal last Monday – led 14-12 after 62 minutes and seemed in a position to finally come out of a disastrous rut.

But then ex-England centre Lee Smith, who had signed permanently from Leeds Rhinos on Friday, arrowed through off a splendid Sykes pass and the floodgates opened as, shorn of confidence, Giants capitulated just like a team that has now won just once in nine outings.

Agar, who saw his own side end a four-game losing run, said: “I just told our guys to hang on to the ball.

“That was the message – hang on to it and see if we could have a crack at them.

“I felt we had gone all right first half. It was a really strong wind but we defended a lot of what they had to throw at us and I felt we handled their kicking game.

“I was really pleased with how the half-backs then went. They played too flat in the first half but rectified that and kicked really well too while all the guys we got from Huddersfield – Andy Raleigh, Kyle Wood and Danny Kirmond – had strong showings.

“I can’t remember our line being under threat too much in the second period.”

Huddersfield, with Anderson having made five changes to the side that lost last week’s Challenge Cup semi-final to Warrington, had come out narrowly on top of a turgid first period leading just 8-6.

There was no little effort from both sides – Greg Eden came in late for Aaron Murphy after the Giants winger rolled an ankle in the warm-up – but neither could add any true shine to their attacking play.

What resulted was a collection of dropped passes and mistakes which left little to be enthusiastic about.

Each side was as guilty as the other and there was hopeless cries of “No, no, no, no, no..” from one dispirited Giants fan as another attack petered to nothing, Lee Gilmour cutting back infield into the waiting arms of a wall of Trinity defenders.

However, with just seconds remaining in the half, a piece of Danny Brough ingenuity broke them, his chipped kick arrowing across the line almost like a pass to Leroy Cudjoe who had enough space to slip team-mate Luke George in at the corner for his second.

His first had, typically, come from a Trinity error when Lee Smith dropped a wide pass on the last tackle and Scott Grix weaved up field before supplying the pacey winger.

Wakefield had responded in the 25th minute when Ben Cockayne collected Tim Smith’s reverse grubber, Sykes adding the first of his five goals, but Huddersfield thought they had got the upper hand when a dummying Tommy Lee sliced through for Eorl Crabtree to score seven minutes into the second period.

Brough, forming a new half-back partnership with Luke Robinson, converted but Huddersfield let the restart bounce into touch to hand Wakefield immediate possession.

Sykes could not capitalise, though, as his pass also sailed into the stands but when Robinson failed to deal with Tim Smith’s spiralling kick, Dean Collis dived on the loose ball and Sykes improved the 53rd-minute try.

Giants prop Keith Mason should have responded but, like so many others, spilled as he powered linewards. Agar called for his side to go for two points and level when Lee flopped illegally but, fortunately, the message did not get down in time.

In the next set, Sykes finally found his range and Lee Smith cruised through untouched.

Tim Smith also grew in confidence, his well-weighted kick forcing a drop-out from which Ali Lauitiiti used all his power and purpose to supply Richard Mathers with a try.

Sykes’s inside pass then sent Paul Johnson galloping through the middle for Tim Smith to cross before the mercurial stand-off Sykes – on loan from Bradford Bulls – thoughtfully slotted a drop goal.

Fittingly, Kirmond had the last word as the former Giant latched on to another Tim Smith grubber, the ruined hosts managing somehow to concede 29 unanswered points in as many minutes.

Huddersfield: Grix; George, Cudjoe, Gilmour, Eden; Brough, Robinson; Crabtree, Moore, Mason, Ferguson, Chan, Fairbank. Substitutes: Fa’alogo, Patrick, Lee, Cording.

Wakefield: Mathers; Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne; Sykes, T Smith; Amor, Ellis, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Substitutes: Wood, Wilkes, Johnson, Trout.

Referee: T Roby (Whitehaven).