Danny Brough proves inspirational in Huddersfield Giants fightback
Huddersfield Giants 22 Wigan Warriors 10
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
the john smith's stadium
Sunday 17 February 2013
Huddersfield went back to the top of Super League, preserving the only 100 per cent record in the competition by frustrating Wigan for 70 minutes.
Down by 10 points early in the game, the Giants regrouped to keep their line intact thereafter.
"To do that with the pressure we were put under was a credit to them," said their coach, Paul Anderson, who now has the scalps of St Helens and Wigan in the most encouraging of starts to the new campaign. Yesterday, the leadership and kicking skills of Danny Brough may have stood out, but every player put in a fiercely committed defensive stint.
There was a pre-match setback for Wigan when Sam Tomkins, was ruled out with a shoulder injury. They did not miss him unduly in the opening minutes, scoring two quick tries, with Liam Farrell in the central role for both.
The former Wigan half-back, Luke Robinson, lost the ball in attack. It was worked methodically, with the help of a penalty, to the other end, where Farrell, in a rich vein of form so far this season, found a typically incisive angle to cross the try-line.
Two minutes later, Farrell charged on to a short pass from Blake Green, split the Giants' defence and positioned Josh Charnley perfectly for the second Warriors try. Huddersfield were in danger of being swept away and probably would have been, but for some determined goal-line defence and a spectacular high catch from Jermaine McGillvary.
The winger with a basketball background was also responsible for the try that brought the Giants back into it, taking a pass from Leroy Cudjoe and using his considerable strength to force his way over in the corner.
The Giants have some serious strength off the bench this season and, as well as the towering Eorl Crabtree, they were able to bring on a hooker of the calibre of Shaun Lunt in the middle of the game.
It was his work from dummy half that produced what turned out to be the crucial try, Jamie Cording hitting the ball at full throttle to punch a hole. Danny Brough added a conversion and two penalties, but what really won the game for the Giants was their never-say-die defence. There was no shortage of ideas from Wigan, but time and time again they were forced back by relentless tackling.
With time running out, Pat Richards attempted a desperation pass, blind over his shoulder, which was intercepted by Brett Ferres, who galloped 80 metres to set the seal on a magnificent victory.
"Overall, the better team won," Shaun Wane, the Wigan coach, admitted. "They defended their line better than we did."
Huddersfield Grix; Murphy, Cudjoe, Wardle, McGillvary; Brough, Robinson; Kopczak, Faiumu, Fielden, Ferres, Chan, Fairbank. Substitutes used Crabtree, Lunt, Patrick, Cording.
Wigan Charnley; Gelling, Goulding, Thornley, Richards; Green, Smith; Dudson, McIlorum, Mossop, Farrell, Hughes, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used Flower, Taylor, Powell, Burke.
Referee James Child (Dewsbury).
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