Huddersfield 24 Wakefield 22: Wild sparks joy for Giants support

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The Independent Online

Huddersfield earned a place in the Super League play-offs for the first time, tries early in the second half from Jamahl Lolesi and Stephen Wild giving them the edge in a fluctuating match at the Galpharm Stadium.

Wakefield, who went in with top-six ambitions of their own, led by 10 points soon after the interval but lost control as they ran out of fit players. They will now need a mathematical miracle to join Huddersfield in the play-offs.

"We are there on merit," said the Giants' coach, Jon Sharp. "We've won six out of our last seven and we enjoyed ourselves tonight and finished strongly."

Wakefield dominated the early stages and had a try disallowed after only a minute, for obstruction. It did not take them long to take the lead, though, Brad Drew, who will be a Wakefield player next season, throwing a pass that was picked off by Paul White. The former Huddersfield player ran 95 metres to score and two Jamie Rooney goals gave the Wildcats an eight-point lead.

Huddersfield finally got into gear when Kevin Brown released Paul Reilly, another who will be at Wakefield next season, to score in the corner. A Chris Thorman penalty brought the Giants closer and then Lolesi's try, from a weaving run, put them ahead.

That was the cue for Jason Demetriou to score twice. Kevin Henderson paved the way for the first, bursting through a weak defensive line. There was Demetriou in support, using Jamie Rooney as a foil on his way to the line.

The second was a short-range effort as Demetriou hit Paul March's pass at just the right angle. Two goals from Rooney, the second from Stuart Jones' ball stealing from Demetriou, completed the 10-point lead.

But Huddersfield are a resilient bunch and they reduced the gap with Lolesi's second, from good work by Robbie Paul, and drew level after Jason Golden had been penalised in the tackle.

Two minutes later they were back in the lead, again after a penalty and again after smart work by Drew that helped put Wild over.

Thorman protected that lead by beating Rooney to March's kick, though Paul squandered what would have been a clinching try by losing the ball over the line. It did not matter in the final analysis and did nothing to spoil a night of celebration for Huddersfield.

Huddersfield: Thorman; Jensen, Lolesi, Nero, Reilly; Brown, Drew; Mason, Hudson, Skandalis, Jones, Raleigh, Wild. Substitutes used: Paul, Crabtree, Jackson, Snitch.

Wakefield: Blaymire; Fox, Demetriou, Atkins, White; Rooney, Jeffries; Watene, Obst, Bibey, MacGillivray, Golden, Ferres. Substitutes used: P March, Catic, Henderson, Gleeson.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).