Hodgson pulls strings as Bulls are routed

Huddersfield 24 Bradford 12
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The Independent Online

It will be difficult for the Giants to match last season, which saw them finish third in Super League and reach the Challenge Cup final, but they made a solid start to the task last night.

Capably led by their captain, Brett Hodgson, Huddersfield always had the upper hand over Bradford and showed no ill-effects from a pre-season disrupted by a police investigation into rape allegations.

This was very much the Giants of 2009 – strong and organised in defence and, thanks largely to Hodgson, creative enough to score points when they have the ball – although having two players sent to the sin-bin in the second half pushed their luck a little.

"We built last season on effort and commitment to each other and that was there again tonight," said Giants' coach Nathan Brown.

"We're bitterly disappointed, because we probably missed an opportunity," said the Bulls' coach Steve McNamara. "We got back into the game and could have pushed on with it in the second half."

Bradford were already down three scores through two Leroy Cudjoe tries and one from Shaun Lunt, before they started their fightback in the minutes before half-time. Matt Orford opened up one flank with a pass that led to Stuart Reardon scoring and then fashioned a kick that paved the way for Rikki Sheriffe to touch down in the opposite corner.

The Giants then recaptured their dominant mood at the start of the second half. David Fa'alogo scored a debut try from close range and even the sin-binnings of Luke Robinson and Lee Gilmour did not affect them unduly. Reardon squeezed in for a second try, but Huddersfield were too far clear.

Huddersfield: B Hodgson; Cudjoe, Lolesi, Lawrence, D Hodgson; Brown, Robinson; Griffin, Lunt, Mason, Gilmour, Horne, Faiumu. Substitutes used: Crabtree, Grix, Fa'alogo, Raleigh.

Bradford: Halley; Sheriffe, Sykes, Nero, Reardon; Kearney, Orford; Scruton, L'Estrange, Lynch, Hall, Langley, Menzies. Substitutes used: Godwin, Worrincy, Kopczak, Donaldson.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

*Castleford recovered superbly from a 10-6 half-time deficit to defeat champions Leeds 24-10 at a foggy Headingley last night, avenging last August's 76-12 drubbing at the same venue.