Hull display art of defence to perfection

Huddersfield Giants 0 Hull FC 20
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The Independent Online

Hull showed the defensive resolve that teams need if they are to succeed at the top end of Super League by keeping Huddersfield scoreless despite having to soak up pressure for long periods at the McAlpine Stadium last night.

The Giants will feel that they had the worst of the refereeing decisions, but it was Hull's determination not to let them cross their line that was the decisive factor.

Huddersfield started in exciting style, with Julian Bailey's thrilling run straight from the kick-off and Stuart Jones taken high by Richard Horne. Choosing to run the penalty rather than kick it from comfortable range, they came away empty-handed.

The promising start began to turn sour when the Giants lost the influential Brandon Costin with a hamstring injury. They fell behind to a Paul Cooke penalty, awarded against Jim Gannon for holding down in the tackle, and were then the victims of a debatable try, scored by Paul McNicholas from Kirk Yeaman's return pass, but begun by one from Horne that looked forward. Cooke's second goal put Hull eight points up.

Both sides struggled for ball control under difficult conditions, but Hull's well structured kicking game pinned Huddersfield back until Stanley Gene was penalised for his tackle on Colin Best only for Cooke to miss an easy third goal.

Even that worked in Hull's favour, with Ben Cooper returning the kick but losing it in the tackle to give Richard Whiting an easy try. Huddersfield fell further behind before half-time when Sean Penkywicz was penalised for a swinging arm in the tackle.

The Giants became even more convinced that the world was against them when Gene was denied a try for a double movement just after the break.

Then Ben Roarty had the ball ripped out just short of the Hull try-line and the Giants' captain Darren Fleary, was sent to the sin-bin as some of the confrontations got ugly.

The game was won now but Hull rubbed it in when their substitute, Graeme Horne, went over in the last minute with Cook kicking his fourth goal.

Huddersfield Giants: Reilly; O'Hare, Gene, Bailey, Donlan; Costin, Penkywicz; Fleary, March, Gannon, Jones, Roarty, Nero. Substitutes used: Cooper, Slicker, Morrison, Crabtree.

Hull FC: Briscoe; Best, Barnett, Yeaman, Raynor; Cooke, R Horne; Dowes, Swain, Carvell, McMenemy, McNicholas, Chester. Substitutes used: Whiting, Lupton, G Horne, Higgins.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).