AS Huddersfield Giants will no doubt testify, when you have not won all season, it is good to unleash when you finally get off the mark.
Paul Anderson’s side did that yesterday, Super League’s bottom club battling their way past similarly troubled Hull KR for a first success in seven games dating back to last September and eventually running away with victory.
Granted, having built up a 12-0 lead inside just 1o minutes, courtesy of converted tries from debutant Jordan Tansey – with the on-loan Wakefield Trinity full-back’s first touch – and second-row Michael Lawrence, they toiled for long periods before eventually taking charge.
But Rovers, in James Webster’s first game in charge and welcoming back captain Terry Campese after nine months out following a knee reconstruction, are still awaiting their first win, too, so they were always going to make a fist of this.
Indeed, it was only when the desperately unlucky stand-off Campese so cruelly pulled his hamstring just before the hour mark that Huddersfield, then leading just 18-6, were able to safely negotiate their way home mainly via the cleverness of Danny Brough’s quality kicking game.
Anderson said: “Broughy had the ball on a string at times in that second period. It’s good to get a win. At times, when we’ve lost, I’ve felt like my world’s caved in.
“But we’ve got players back out on the park now. I can’t praise our medical team enough. If you’ve got players who have had bad injuries, you have got to make sure they come back at 1oo per cent. They’ve done that.
“They might have been criticised with all the injuries we’ve had this year. But they’ve got our boys back fit and healthy and they all made an impact (yesterday).”
Anderson, meanwhile, revealed prop Daniel Smith is out of action for six months after he underwent surgery on a foot injury on Friday.
Both sides welcomed back key personnel, Giants seeing Joe Wardle and Kyle Wood make their maiden appearances this season and Eorl Crabtree his first since the opening night loss at St Helens.
Rovers had as many as five players resuming including Campese plus former Huddersfield hooker Shaun Lunt making his first appearance of the season.
That said, it was far from enough and Webster – the East Yorkshire club’s third head coach this season – certainly has his work cut out.
They need to keep Campese fit; this may have been the 31-year-old’s first game in nine months but his importance was already clear given, during the 42 minutes he was actually on the field, his side matched their opponents with both sides just scoring six points each.
With Hull KR offering only handling errors in attack when trailing 12-0, Webster had seen enough by 15 minutes and told Campese to enter the fray.
He quickly brought some order to their play with his organisation and distribution while the Australian’s hanging kicks did cause Huddersfield some problems.
Nevertheless, it was the home side who still had the better chances. They just could not take them.
Youngsters Kruise Leeming and Josh Johnson both spilled over the line, Wardle coughed up when Brough’s bullet pass had him destined for a try and, furthermore, when Brough sent Jake Connor surging clear, the captain dropped the inside return ball when, really, it should have been sent wide to winger Aaron Murphy.
Campese’s teasing high kicks finally brought a reward when Thomas Minns claimed one to score in the 46th minute, Ryan Shaw converting.
When Campese’s grubber then forced a drop-out, the visitors had a chance to strike – only to see James Greenwood fumble at the play-the-ball.
Moments later, some slick handling saw Murphy in at the corner and the game had turned.
Brough converted and added a penalty before Jermaine McGillvary chalked up his 100th Super League try and Larne Patrick and Ukuma Ta’ai rounded things off.
On Campese, Webster confirmed: “It’s a hamstring issue. Whilst we’re disappointed he’s going to miss some time, it’s good it’s not the knee again.
“When he’s on the ground with his hand in the air you clearly worry – but it’s his hamstring on the other leg, which was a relief.
“He made a real difference and we’ve only had one week of training with him on the field. We’ll know more Tuesday or Wednesday after a scan. It’s a calf problem with Shaun; he doesn’t know if he’s strained it or not. He’s nowhere near as bad as Terry, but whether Shaun will be right for next week we won’t know.”
Huddersfield Giants: Tansey; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Connor, Murphy; Brough, Wood; Crabtree, Hinchcliffe, Rapira, Wardle, Lawrence, Ta’ai. Substitutes: Patrick, Johnson, Leeming, Roberts.
Hull KR: Cockayne; Sio, Minns, Thornley, Shaw; Blair, Marsh; Walker, Lunt, Tilse, Clarkson, Horne, Allgood. Substitutes: Green, Greenwood, Campese, Boudebza.
Referee: R Hicks (Oldham).