Huddersfield Giants inflict St Helens’ second defeat of the season following a 12-10 victory at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Saints have now lost only one game less than the whole of 2019, with the Giants adding to their terrific start to the season.
Aidan O’Brien’s eighth-minute opener gave the Giants an early lead, however, Saints soon hit back with a quickfire double before half-time.
A barrage of Saints pressure in the second-half was poorly executed, and with that, Joe Wardle’s 40-metre score sent Huddersfield home happy.
Huddersfield’s unbeaten start to the 2020 Super League season came crashing down last weekend, as Adrian Lam’s Warriors ran riot at the John Smith’s Stadium, whilst Kristian Woolf’s Saints side white-washed the winless Wolfpack in Cheshire.
However, surprisingly, it was the Giants who drew first blood at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Aidan Sezer’s looping kick towards the in-goal was batted down by Sam Wood and O’Brien was on hand to touch down, much to the travelling fans’ delight.
That early score seemed to spur the Saints into action and just moments later, Luke Thompson powered over. After persistent pressure on the Giants’ goal-line, Theo Fages’ short ball found the hands of Thompson, who was able to burst through the visitors’ defensive line to score.
Kristian Woolf’s side soon found their rhythm and before long, the home side took the lead. A great Giants effort was denied by resolute Saints defending and from the next set, the hosts hit the front foot.
After the ball was worked well towards the Huddersfield line, quick thinking by Jonny Lomax found Morgan Knowles in space down the left, with the halfback’s neat grubber being batted down in the corner.
Resilient defence at both ends of the field kept the Saints at a four-point advantage, as the game headed into the interval. Excellent work by Huddersfield on their own goal-line kept Saints at bay, despite conceding multiple penalties. Whilst, great work on the left by Simon Woolford’s side found Saints short on cover, but excellent work by Tommy Makinson ran the ball clear.
Huddersfield were struggling to keep tabs of the free-flowing Saints shortly after the break, and it looked as if Woolf’s words of wisdom had made the visitors pay as Lomax dived over, only for Gareth Hewer to call the play back for obstruction.
A silky Fages was pulling the strings in the Saints line and the French halfback thought he had found his second assist of the game when Matty Costello bulldozed into the Giants’ defensive pack, only for the ball to be knocked loose after a big hit on the goal-line.
Too many times, missed opportunities have been Saints’ downfall this season and after spending the majority of the second 40 defending their own goal-line, it was Huddersfield who took the late two-point advantage. Wardle palmed off Jack Welsby’s attempted tackle and sprinted 40 metres down the left-hand side into that elusive try area.
Saints fans rose to their feet in the dying stages hoping for late, late drama, however, Huddersfield stayed strong to deny wave after wave of Saints attacks to take home a slender victory.
Image – Platy Photos – St Helens’ Official Photographer