Crusaders pay heavy price for indiscipline

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The Independent Online

A second-half hat-trick of tries from David Hodgson consolidated the Giants' top-three place and snuffed out a comeback by a Welsh side let down by its indiscipline.

Two of Hodgson's tries came when Crusaders were reduced to 12 men by the sin-binning of Richard Moore for the latest in a series of offences – a heavy flop on to Luke Robinson. His coach, Iestyn Harris, admitted his team's overall discipline left much to be desired.

"It's a big concern," Harris said. "We conceded 13 more penalties than they did and that's 13 more sets we had to defend."

To have incurred the wrath of the referee so regularly suggests there was something fundamentally wrong with the bottom club in Super League's approach. There were times when they were a rabble and the game ended with another sin-binning and an incident on report.

Crusaders arrived with some grounds for confidence, however, with a previous victory over the Giants this season and near-wins in their last two outings. On top of that, Huddersfield were extensively reshuffled after last week's defeat at Wigan, with Luke O'Donnell back after a seven-game absence and Gregg McNally recalled from loan at Barrow.

None of that did anything to inhibit the tempo at which the Giants began. They had already squandered a couple of try-scoring opportunities before they went ahead in the third minute, Kevin Brown's well-timed pass releasing David Fa'alogo. Michael Witt put his kick-off out on the full to guarantee further pressure and, a couple of minutes later, the Giants were over again, when Joe Wardle connected with Scott Grix's grubber.

That there was only one more try in the first half owed more to Huddersfield's poor execution than to Crusaders' efforts. It came from Brown, with a simple dummy and dart for the line, with McNally kicking the third of his six goals.

"We could have put them to bed a bit earlier," said the Giants' assistant coach, Paul Anderson. "It could have been all over in the first 20 minutes. Any attacking threat from Crusaders had been left somewhere on the road-side between Wrexham and Halifax, but they suddenly rediscovered their sense of purpose after the interval.

Tony Martin scored from Witt's long, looping pass and followed that up by racing away to touch down from Jason Chan's one-handed pass.

Hodgson's first try, from Grix's kick to the corner, slowed down the Welsh revival, but what really stopped it in its tracks was the sin-binning of Moore. In his absence, Hodgson crossed for two more, the second thanks to a miraculous pick-up off his toes from Leroy Cudjoe's difficult pass. It was his second hat-trick of the season and evidence that he remains a finisher of the highest class.

Michael Lawrence sold a little dummy to get himself among the scorers, but the game finished with Brown carried off on a stretcher and Hep Cahill sin-binned for a late challenge. The Rugby League will no doubt be looking at the incidents this week.

Harris promised that Crusaders will do the same. He knows as well as anyone they need to clean up their act if they are compete at this level.

Huddersfield: McNally; McGillvary, Wardle, Cudjoe, Hodgson; Brown, Grix; Fa'alogo, Robinson, Griffin, Ferguson, Lawrence, O'Donnell. Substitutes used: Crabtree, Patrick, Mason, Wood.

Crusaders: Tansey; Reardon, Thomas, Martin, Mellars; Witt, Sammut; Flower, Withers, O'Hara, Winterstein, Chan, Cahill. Substitutes used: Bryant, James, Moore, Kear.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).