IT HAS certainly taken a while for their season to flicker into life, but Joe Wardle says Huddersfield Giants must now make the most of their improving form.
The experienced back-row was among the try-scorers as Simon Woolford’s side won 38-26 at London Broncos on Sunday, stringing together rare successive victories.
Huddersfield had lost their opening four games, but have now enjoyed a turnaround with triumphs in three of their last four outings to move up to ninth.
A West Yorkshire derby at Wakefield Trinity looms on Friday and Wardle insisted: “The last two wins have been crucial.
“It was massive for us at the weekend. We need to be building momentum and every game currently is huge.
“We have to keep this up to start climbing that table and continue beating those around us.
“That’s one of the biggest aspects of it all; we know we haven’t started the season as well as we wanted, but we’re getting boys back from injury and now we must go on again at Wakefield.”
Such is the strange state of the table after eight rounds that Huddersfield – despite their dismal start – could draw level with fourth-placed Trinity if they prosper again this week.
Wardle, 27, added: “We can’t take anything lightly, Wakefield are a class side.
“They’re running teams close or beating them, like they did beating Salford on Sunday, while their pack is massive.
“That’s where it will be won and lost on Friday; it will be a real battle down the middle.
“They have Danny Brough, too, and we all know at Huddersfield he’s a class player. He always has been and his kicking game is ridiculous. It’s going to be a tough match, but an exciting one.”
Giants’ turnaround started with a 14-6 win at champions Wigan Warriors, a victory that was particularly sweet for Wardle given it saw him play alongside younger brother Jake for the first time.
There is a seven-year age-gap between the Halifax-born siblings – centre Jake is still just 20 –and it looked like they would never appear together.
Initially Joe left Huddersfield for NRL Newcastle Knights on a three-year deal at the end of 2016.
He returned after just 12 months due to homesickness, but elected to join Castleford Tigers, also on a three-year deal.
However, circumstances changed again; Wardle played 18 games for Castleford last term, but when the chance came to re-join Huddersfield in January, as part of a swap deal with Jordan Rankin, he jumped at the chance.
Wardle, who made 141 appearances in his first spell with Giants and won the 2013 League Leaders’ Shield, said: “It was pretty good to be honest.
“One of the main reasons I came back to the club was to get the chance to play alongside Jake so to do that and in a game like Wigan away – one of the biggest matches around – was superb.
“I really enjoyed the experience. We were on the same edge together and hopefully there’s a few more nights like that to come – if he just stops getting injured.
“He could be back this week or next so hopefully that will start soon and we can get a run.”
Akuila Uate scored a brace against London, a welcome tonic for the high-profile former Newcastle and Fiji winger who had suffered a difficult start to life in Super League since joining from Manly Sea Eagles.
Wardle said: “He’s had some injuries that have taken their toll and that’s not helped him, but it’s just nice to see him get a couple of tries like he did on Sunday and getting those rewards.
“The guy is consistently doing the right thing and I’m so happy for him. Hopefully he might even take his game to another level now and we could see what he was doing when he was playing for Australia a few years ago.
“But it was a tough win. London need a lot more credit than what they’re getting; they are a really good side, throw the ball around and test you consistently.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they win a few more games, especially down there in Ealing. They’ve the makings of putting a really good squad together over the next couple of years.”