Hull 19 Huddersfield 6: Cooke takes misfiring Hull past physical Giants pack

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Hull's remarkable turnaround in form continued as their seventh successive victory took them above Bradford and into third place in Super League.

A season that appeared to be going nowhere before Easter has been transformed in stunning style and Hull look well placed to challenge the established order and push for their first Grand Final appearance. Their revival, which began with a 26-18 win at Huddersfield on Good Friday while they were awaiting the arrival of Peter Sharp from Australia to replace the sacked coach John Kear, continued after a real battle of attrition against a determined Giants side.

Hull had to be patient to ward off the challenge of the Giants, whose big pack, admirably led by their workaholic captain Brad Drew, posed plenty of problems. Huddersfield rued several missed chances to reward their long spells of field position and possession, as their coach Jon Sharp testified.

"We had four clear-cut opportunities and when you don't take them against a good side you get punished," he said. "We defended very well and were hard to break down and I thought my players were tremendous today. It was a real arm wrestle with the players going toe to toe and must have been very enjoyable for the spectators."

Though less dominant than in recent weeks, Paul Cooke was again Hull's key player. He will, however, face an anxious wait after being placed on report for an alleged high tackle on Stuart Donlan. The Hull prop Garreth Carvell was also outstanding.

Cooke, who kicked Hull into an early lead with a penalty, regained the advantage for his side with a superb touchline conversion after Sid Domic burrowed over in the corner. The Giants scored their only points when Drew's clever pass sent the prop Keith Mason over the line for a converted try.

Hull's 8-6 interval lead lasted until just after the hour, when Cooke's brilliant cut-out pass sent Nathan Blacklock in at the corner. Richard Horne increased Hull's lead with a drop goal before finishing off a Kirk Yeaman break for the clinching try five minutes from time.

"We were off the pace today," said Sharp. "But we toughed it out and got a win. That was pleasing, though not the manner in which we achieved it. It was a lacklustre performance by us and you might say the better team lost."

Hull: Tony; Blacklock, Domic, Yeaman, Dixon; Cooke, R Horne; Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook. Substitutes used: G Horne, Thackray, Lee, Wheeldon.

Huddersfield: Reilly; Aspinwall, Evans, De Vere, Donlan; March, Paul; Mason, Drew, Gannon, Smith, Raleigh, Jones. Substitutes used: Crabtree, Jackson, McDonald, Wild.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).