McGillvary keeps Giants on top as 'forward pass' denies Wakefield Wakefield denied

Wakefield 16 Huddersfield 18
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The Independent Online

Huddersfield stayed on top of Super League, with the only perfect record in the competition, but only after the most nerve-wracking of last-minute scares here yesterday.

There were less than 30 seconds left on the clock when Wakefield mounted one last attack and Tim Smith put his namesake, Lee, through a gap for what briefly appeared to be the winning try. But the referee, Richard Silverwood, ruled the pass forward, ensuring himself a rousing crescendo of "Cheat, cheat" as he left the pitch a few moments later.

Wakefield are unlikely to draw much comfort from Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson's declaration after the game that "the best team lost".

The Giants had been in a winning position thanks to three tries from winger Jermaine McGillvary. England are well-blessed with good wingers at the moment, but should a couple of them be ruled out, McGillvary's finishing yesterday suggested that he would not be out of place in a Test jersey.

When he went off after 55 minutes with a nasty eye injury, though, the Wildcats scored two tries down his wing to make a real, nail-biting contest of it.

Wakefield's relative stability at the moment was reflected in that contemporary rugby league rarity, a team numbered from 1 to 13. It was the Giants who showed the early cohesion, however, rewarded by two tries in the first eight minutes from the athletic McGillvary.

The first came when Danny Brough picked up a loose ball near his try-line. Four tackles later, Huddersfield were down at the other end and McGillvary was scoring in the corner from Luke Robinson's lofted pass.

The second came when the flanker was first to drop on Scott Grix's cross-field kick. "He's playing well so he should be in with a shout," said Anderson of his wingman's international prospects.

Surprisingly, Brough failed to convert either try. That allowed Wakefield to come right back into it when Ali Lauitiiti off-loaded to Richie Mathers and Peter Fox arrived in support to finish the move. A conversion and a penalty from Paul Sykes brought the Wildcats level, but Brough's boot edged the Giants ahead once more before half-time.

Huddersfield seemed to have taken the initiative with a marvellous passage of rugby soon after the break, started by David Faiumu's side-step and off-load and finished by another lobbed Robinson pass to the inevitable McGillvary. But in the winger's absence, Wakefield began to make mischief down his flank. Ben Cockayne kicked ahead for Lee Smith to touch down and then Tim Smith's pass skimmed Leroy Cudjoe's fingertips on its way to Cockayne. The latter Smith was adamant afterwards that his last-minute pass was equally valid. Sadly for him, the record books will show otherwise.

Wakefield: Tries Fox, L Smith, Cockayne; Goals Sykes 2.

Huddersfield: Tries McGillvary 3; Goals Brough 3.

Wakefield: Mathers; Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne; Sykes, T.Smith; Poore, Aiton, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook.

Subs used: Wilkes, Wood, Amor, Annakin. Huddersfield: Grix; Murphy, Cudjoe, Wardle, McGillvary; Brough, Robinson; Crabtree, Lunt, Fielden, Ferres, Chan, Fairbank. Subs used: Faiumu, Patrick, Cording, Mullally.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield)