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Friday 8th July 2011, 20:00 - Round:21
|Brett Hodgson, Joel Monaghan 2, Richie Myler, Louis Anderson,||T||Jermaine McGillvary, David Fa'alogo, Kevin Brown,|
Brett Hodgson 4,
Scott Grix 2,
Attendance: 10,283 Official: B Thaler Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Warrington Wolves held off a second-half fightback from third-placed Huddersfield Giants to gain a crucial victory that takes them back to the top of Engage Super League.
Warrington, who lost their place at the summit to Wigan in midweek, looked to have wrapped up their first win in four meetings with Huddersfield when they raced into a 22-0 lead inside 24 minutes.
But the Giants, who ended their hosts’ play-off hopes last September and won two league meetings earlier this year, fought back with three tries in 21 minutes to set up a thrilling finish, and the Wolves could only breathe easily when Louis Anderson scored a fifth try three minutes from the end.
Warrington were handicapped by the loss of Ben Harrison and Mike Cooper after a clash of heads but there was little hint of the drama to come after they made a spectacular start.
The pattern was set as early as the third minute when Huddersfield’s Australian hardman Luke O’Donnell felt the full force of a three-man tackle and his handling error gifted a try for full-back Brett Hodgson, who went on to kick four goals against his old club.
From then on, in possession the Giants players seemed to always have one eye on the defenders and they came up with a series of handling errors which could not all be attributed to the wet conditions.
While the visitors were rarely able to complete a full set of tackles, Warrington dictated play at will and demonstrated their full array of skills with Michael Monaghan inevitably at the heart of their attacking moves.
Monaghan’s younger brother Joel touched down Hodgson’s kick to the corner with inches to spare for his first try and scrum-half Richie Myler took a return pass from second-rower Anderson to make it 18-0 after 16 minutes.
The best score came on 23 minutes when the Wolves moved the ball the full width of the pitch and Matty Blyth put Joel Monaghan over for his second try.
Warrington were unable to maintain their level of excellence and Huddersfield kept their line intact for the rest of the first half, without being able to put their opponents’ line under any significant pressure.
When the visitors eventually opened their account, 11 minutes into the second half, it came courtesy of three kicks, with winger Jermaine McGillvary involved twice before winning the race to Michael Lawrence’s punt to the line.
The Giants were then able to stay on the attack when Hodgson’s re-start went ‘dead’ and they added a second try almost immediately when powerful forward David Fa’alogo took Luke Robinson’s pass to touch down from close range.
Scott Grix converted his side’s second try to cut the gap to 12 points and Huddersfield began to show some resolve in defence to keep in the game as conditions deteriorated.
Hodgson must have sensed a close finish as he attempted a drop goal that went wide and the Giants got within a score 10 minutes from the end when captain Kevin Brown ran on to Robinson’s perfectly-placed grubber kick.
Hodgson was off target with a second drop-goal attempt but Anderson, making a welcome return to the side from a three-match injury absence, made sure of the victory when he went through a tiring defence for the crucial score.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals