Solomona's skills show off ambition at Wakefield

Huddersfield 6 Wakefield 38
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The Independent Online

Wakefield looked every inch a side capable of mounting a bid for a play-off place as they towered above the Giants at the McAlpine Stadium.

It was Huddersfield who started a contest between arguably the two most improved sides in Super League in the top six. But, already without Stanley Gene, they lost Brandon Costin early with hamstring and back trouble and could never compete with the quality of Wakefield's passing and support play.

"It was probably the best we've played this season," said their coach, Shane McNally. "It's the first time we've beaten a side above us, so it's a bit of a milestone."

Wakefield lived dangerously in the early stages, conceding a kick to Paul March, holding up Jim Gannon over their try-line and only seeing Marcus St Hilaire denied by a forward pass from Costin. Huddersfield's March also missed a moderately easy penalty, but the signs were there from Trinity that they were going to have more than their share of this game.

Three times the sumptuous handling skills of David Solomona threatened to open up the left flank, but the winger, Semi Taduala, could not take advantage. They finally capitalised on their ability to keep the ball alive after 16 minutes when Gareth Ellis got the ball out of the tackle for Jamie Field to score.

The other March twin, David, missed the conversion but soon added a penalty. He was also on the mark to improve a beautifully worked try started and finished by Ben Jeffries, with Jason Demetriou and Justin Ryder both handling skilfully along the way.

The Giants began the second half as strongly as they had the first, putting sustained pressure on Wakefield and forcing a series of drop outs. The Wildcats defended their line tenaciously. But something had to give and it did when Sean Penkywicz burrowed his way over.

That was merely the signal for Wakefield to roll up their sleeves and start to play some inspired rugby once more with three tries in eight minutes.

The first came when Jeffries and Field combined smoothly to send Demetriou over and Michael Korkidas then stormed through to slid over the line. Demetriou got his second when Jeffries kicked to the wing and Ryder palmed the ball down for him. The rout carried on into the last 10 minutes with Field getting his second from Jeffries' long pass and Ryder scoring from a kick from the same supplier.

"We were beaten comprehensively by a team that was so enthusiastic and committed to the cause," said the Huddersfield coach, Jon Sharp.

The only downside for Wakefield was the fear that Solomona could have fractured his cheekbone in the first half. Apart from that, this was an afternoon for celebration by the supporters of a club which could be in line for its best season for a long time.

Huddersfield: Reilly, O'Hare, Dunlan, Bailey, St Hilaire, Costin, P March, Slicker, Penkywicz, Gannon, Jones, Roarty, Nero. Substitutes: Joseph, Morrison, Crabtree, Fleary.

Wakefield: Halpenny, Ryder, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala, Ellis, Jeffries, Griffin, D March, Korkidas, Solomona, Field, Applegarth. Substitutes: Snitch, Elima, Wainwright, Spicer.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).