Huddersfield 28 St Helens 26: Anderson blames referee as Saints squander lead

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The Independent Online

The St Helens coach, Daniel Anderson, could be in trouble with the authorities after his post-match criticism of the referee Ian Smith. "We've had him [Smith] in four games and he's not had a TV game this year. That speaks for itself."

But while Anderson blamed Smith for the defeat, critics who said that St Helens would struggle in 2008 had their convictions strengthened yesterday. Without Paul Sculthorpe, Keiron Cunningham, Nick Fozzard and Jason Cayless, Saints do not look like a side that can stop Leeds Rhinos on Friday night at Knowsley Road.

Saints blasted into a 14-0 lead through tries from Paul Wellens and Chris Flannery. Then the Giants roared back in to the game with two tries in five minutes through Darrell Griffin and Jamal Lolesi. Stung into a response, Saints' Leon Pryce scored on the next attack.

Then came the game's most controversial moment. With the hooter having already sounded for half time, Huddersfield's Paul Whatuira was awarded a try. With the ball bouncing erratically in the in-goal, referee Smith overruled the in-goal touch judge and adjudged that Whatuira had touched down.

Afterwards, the Saints coach Daniel Anderson was seething. "The try before half time was absolutely diabolical. The in-goal touch judge ruled no try. I wonder if [Smith] is up to this standard."

After the break Chris Thorman converted Griffin's second try to push the Giants briefly in front before James Roby responded for St Helens. The Giants then took advantage of Saints' weary pack with a converted Rod Jensen try that sealed their advantage.

Huddersfield: Thorman, Lawrence, Whatuira, Lolesi, Jensen, Brown, Robinson, Mason, Gatis, Skandalis, Snitch, Crabtree, Jones. Substitutes used: Raleigh, Jackson, Griffin, Hudson.

St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Fa'asavalu, Roby, Graham, Gilmour, Flannery, Wilkin. Substitutes used: Bennett, Clough, Eastmond, Frodsham.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).

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