Warrington Wolves 19 Huddersfield Giants 12: Huddersfield left to rue another close defeat

Huddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer takes on Warrington (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Huddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer takes on Warrington (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Huddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer takes on Warrington (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
NOT for the first time this season, another tight game slipped away from Huddersfield Giants tonight.

They were competitive and spirited throughout against Warrington Wolves but ultimately suffered a fourth straight defeat - all by eight points or less - to leave Luke Robinson frustrated once more.

Huddersfield battled hard but their hopes were eventually ended when, trailing 18-12, captain Aidan Sezer was needlessly sin-binned in the 73rd minute.

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The Australian scrum-half had narrowly missed out on a glorious try-scoring chance, chasing down Darnell McIntosh’s kick ahead before the ball agonisingly rolled dead.

Huddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer kicks the ball away - and gets a yellow card (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Huddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer kicks the ball away - and gets a yellow card (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Huddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer kicks the ball away - and gets a yellow card (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

In his frustration, Sezer kicked it behind the posts, in essence denying Warrington a quick 20m restart.

Referee Robert Hicks showed no hesitation in showing the former Canberra Raiders star a yellow card.

That would have rubbed salt in the player’s wounds given, just minutes earlier, he had been on the end of a late Ben Murdoch-Masila tackle which should really have warranted a sin-binning but was only deemed worthy of a penalty.

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Regardless, just seconds after Sezer departed - Huddersfield had already lost his half-back partner Lee Gaskell to a 27th minute quad injury - Warrington moved up field to make sure with Gareth Widdop’s drop goal.

All of which meant this was the seventh time this year the Giants have lost by eight points or less, including a 19-18 defeat against Warrington in August; they are always so close yet so often so far away.

Things did not start well given they were an hour late arriving in St Helens, an accident on the M62 causing a delayed kick-off for the second week running in Super League.

Warrington led 8-6 at the break but only after Stefan Ratchford had slotted a penalty with the last play of the first half following Joe Wardle’s dangerous tackle on Toby King.

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Huddersfield had done well to stay in the contest; for the early part they were under intense pressure, Steve Price’s side - who had not been in action for 17 days - continually asking questions.

However, the West Yorkshire club proved resilient, defending well for the most part and only being breached once.

That was early on when Daryl Clark exposed some rare lax marker play for Ratchford to convert but, thereafter, Huddersfield were steely.

Widdop did get over but Ratchford’s pass was clearly forward and Robinson’s side then twice scrambled to hold opponents up over the line.

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The second time that happened, when Josh Charnley was denied, the England winger had to depart having dislocated his shoulder in the process.

Alongside Gaskell, it was just one of a number of first half casualties, Warrington also seeing Jason Clark sidelined by an arm injury although, controversially, it was deemed an HIA.

Luke Robinson’s side got off the mark when Anthony Gelling - switched to wing following Charnley’s injury - failed to deal with Aidan Sezer’s hanging kick and Jake Wardle mopped up in the 37th minute.

Sezer levelled the game but then Wardle’s brother came up with first of his costly penalties.

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Huddersfield took the lead for the first time at the start of the second period when HJames Gavet, their powerful Samoa prop, proved too strong for Chris Hill, shrugging off the England front-row to stretch over.

Sezer improved for a 12-8 advantage and his side almost added to that when Leroy Cudjoe - in his 300th career game - flicked out a pass for Jermaine McGillvary.

Unfortunately, the ball bobbled and the England winger - who suffered a head wound trying to regather - could not collect.

Clearly, the bandaged McGillvary was not affected by that injury, though, as in the next set he rattled his international colleague Widdop with a huge tackle as Giants continued to show their intent.

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Yet Warrington responded with a wonderful try and from an unusual set-up.

While everyone was waiting for Blake Austin or Widdop to kick down field on the last tackle, Ben Currie and Toby King instead combined down the short side to unleash young winger Josh Thewlis, Ratchford arriving to supply the final pass to see Daryl Clark claim his second try.

Ratchford improved and Warrington, up in third spot, started to find their rhythm.

They were helped, though, when Joe Wardle was penalised for blocking a Warrington defender as Ash Golding tried to come away from his own line.

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It was a poor penalty to concede and it proved costly as, in the next set, Austin slipped out of Jake Wardle’s tackle to feed Anthony Gelling who twisted over in the corner to make it 18-12 in the 57th minute.

Huddersfield - who remain in seventh - had chances to build pressure but too often their final play was simply too poor.

Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Charnley, Gelling, King, Thewlis; Austin, Widdop; Hill, D Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, J Clark. Substitutes: Philbin, Murdoch-Masila, Davis, Walker.

Huddersfield Giants: Golding; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Jake Wardle, McIntosh; Gaskell, Sezer; Ta’ai, Moore, Hewitt, McQueen, Joe Wardle, Lawrence. Substitutes: English, Wilson, Turner, Gavet.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham)

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