Widnes 22 Huddersfield 30: Anderson salutes Giants win as Ferres sees red

Huddersfield Giants' Ukuma Ta'ai goes over for a try against Widnes.
Huddersfield Giants' Ukuma Ta'ai goes over for a try against Widnes.
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Huddersfield head coach Paul Anderson saluted his side’s effort in winning at Widnes after England forward Brett Ferres was sent off.

Ferres was shown a red card by referee Richard Silverwood after only 12 minutes for punching Rhys Hanbury but the Giants still managed to sweep to an impressive win.

Anderson’s side trailed 18-16 until the 54th minute then ran in three tries from Jack Hughes, Luke Robinson and Jodie Broughton to boost their top four hopes.

Anderson said: “It was a bit of lunacy from Brett and he will cop his medicine.

“He apologised to his team mates and fortunately for Brett they dug deep.

“The referee had no choice but Brett has a squad round him who work hard for each other when adversity strikes.

“Our completion rate was only 50 per cent in the first half but that went up to 80 per cent in the second half.

“Sixteen players out there were outstanding and it’s a real credit to the boys.

“I feel sorry for young Jacob Fairbank who had to come off when Brett was sent off because we needed Michael Lawrence out there.

“I’m a bit narked with everyone saying Widnes needed to win for a top-eight place because we needed a win just as much to get back in the top four.

“The Rugby League say every minute matters this season and it’s going to for us.”

Widnes led 16-12 until the 53rd minute before Jack Hughes, Luke Robinson and Jodie Broughton all crossed to fire the Giants in front.

Captain Kevin Brown scored his second try for Widnes but it was too late.

Huddersfield thought they would be lifted by the return of England second rower Ferres from a knee problem – although he was not on the pitch long enough to make any impact – with Leroy Cudjoe also back although there was still no place for Scott Grix. Rising star Jared Simpson continued at full back with only Aaron Murphy and Chris Bailey missing.

The hosts took a sixth-minute lead with Patrick Ah Van cutting inside McGillvary from Brown’s long pass with Joe Mellor also involved in the build-up.

Then came Ferres’s moment of madness for flattening Hanbury after the full-back raced clear from Aaron Heremaia’s break.

Silverwood was then forced to intervene to prevent a flare-up with Luke Robinson penalised midway through the first half for a professional foul.

Robinson was pushed away by Brown as tempers became frayed but Huddersfield hit back with a storming try from Ukuma Ta’ai on the half hour.

Ta’ai took Jamie Ellis’s pass to brush off Joe Mellor on a bulldozing 39-metre run with Brough tagging on the conversion to edge his side ahead 6-4.

Mellor made amends by restoring the Vikings’ lead with a long pass to Owens, with the undermanned Giants defence stretched after Lloyd White was held short.

Owens booted the touchline conversion to make it 10-6 before a touch judge was forced to separate Joe Wardle and Willie Isa after another skirmish.

Widnes showed their determination in defence just before the break with Hanbury holding up Simpson over the line and White making a try-saving tackle on Craig Kopczak.

But Kopczak was not going to be denied again close to the line and crashed over from short range with Brough’s conversion making it 12-10.

Widnes responded immediately with Ah Van doing well to tap back Mellor’s high kick for Brown to collect and dart over with Owens adding another superb kick.

Galea was lucky not to be sent to the sin bin for hauling back Ellis, who was chasing his own kick, but Brough sent Jack Hughes over from the tap penalty to put his side ahead 18-16.

Huddersfield were playing with plenty of passion and it was no surprise when Robinson notched their fourth try on the hour with Brough’s conversion extending the lead to 24-16.

The Giants’ pack worked overtime in Ferres’s absence but a Kopczak pass near his own line almost led to a Galea try. Then a wild Mellor pass was pounced on by Wardle who sent Broughton streaking clear to finish off a sizzling full-length of the field move with Ellis’s conversion making it 30-16 with 10 minutes remaining.

Huddersfield lost Robinson with a badly gashed head before Brown went over for his second try for Widnes.

Widnes: Hanbury, Owens, Marsh, Dean, Ah Van, Brown, Mellor, Manuokafoa, Heremaia, Gerrard, Clarkson, Galea, Leuluai. Substitutes: White, Whitley, Dudson, Isa.

Huddersfield: Simpson, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Broughton, Brough, Ellis, Crabtree, Robinson, Huby, Ferres, Hughes, Fairbank. Substitutes: Lawrence, Kopczak, Ta’ai, Leeming.

Referee: R Silverwood (RFL).