Wakefield Wildcats 18 Huddersfield Giants 36: Play-off blow as Giants cut Wakefield down to size

Chris Riley and Nick Scruton of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats tackle Anthony Mullally of Huddersfield Giants''.
Chris Riley and Nick Scruton of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats tackle Anthony Mullally of Huddersfield Giants''.
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Wakefield’s Super League play-off hopes were dealt a body blow after they crashed to a first home defeat under coach James Webster.

The Wildcats never recovered from a dismal first half after which they trailed a rampant Huddersfield 32-0 and, although they produced a spirited revival, a 36-18 defeat leaves them four points behind eighth-placed Widnes with four games left of the regular season.

Webster was forced to make a late change, switching Jarrod Sammut from stand-off to full-back in the absence of the injured Richard Mathers, and the Australian experienced mixed fortunes in his new role.

He conceded a penalty from the kick-off by putting the ball straight into touch and the visitors scored inside their first set, with centre Joe Wardle touching down. Brough disputed referee James Child’s decision to disallow his conversion but it hardly mattered as Huddersfield went on to win at a canter.

Shaun Lunt made his first impact on nine minutes when his short pass got prop Eorl Crabtree charging over for the Giants’ second try and it was all Huddersfield as winger Jermaine McGillvary was denied by Paul Sykes’ last-ditch tackle and front rower Anthony Mullally was held up over the line.

A barnstorming run from Mullally’s replacement Craig Kopczak created the position for Lunt to force his way over from dummy half before taking Lunt’s pass to cross himself.

Lunt went off for a breather on 28 minutes and his replacement, teenager Kruise Leeming, took Robinson’s pass to score his first try of the season after Sammut had dropped Brough’s high kick. McGillvary then sprinted 95 metres for an opportunist 18th try of the season as Giants led 32-0 at the break.

Sammut then scored a Cats try four minutes into the second half, which he converted, and further Wildcats’ pressure eventually told when hooker Paul McShane got stand-off Sykes through a yawning gap in the Huddersfield defence and Sammut kicked his second goal.

The Giants scored their only other try through teenager Jake Connor, who switched from the wing to full-back in the absence of Scott Grix for the second half.

And Wildcats had the final say when second rower Danny Kirmond got out an offload that enabled Sammut to score his second try and he also kicked his third goal.

Wakefield coach Webster admitted: “They blew us away. It’s no secret that our Achilles heel over the last three years has been when we can’t handle a big, fast, strong team and we couldn’t today.”

Wakefield wildcats: Sammut; Owen, Lyne, Keinhorst, Riley; Sykes, T. Smith; Raleigh, McShane, Scruton, Gilmour, Kirmond, Washbrook. Subs: Wildie, Tautai, Moore, Lauitiiti.

Huddersfield Giants: Grix; McGillvary, Murphy, Wardle, Connor; Brough, Robinson; Crabtree, Lunt, Mullally, Ferres, Patrick, Lawrence. Subs: Kopczak, Bailey, Faiumu, Leeming.

Referee: James Child (RFL).

Attendance: 4,317.

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