Huddersfield 16 Wakefield 28: Fifita powers Trinity to Cup win over Giants

Wakefield's Ben Jones-Bishop dives over to score despite the effots of Huddersfield's Jake Connor.
Wakefield's Ben Jones-Bishop dives over to score despite the effots of Huddersfield's Jake Connor.
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MOST Wakefield Trinity Wildcats fans will not even have heard of David Fifita a few weeks ago.

However, they now have a new cult hero as the hulking Australian prop scored twice in only his second game to send them into the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-finals.

It is the first time the West Yorkshire club has reached the last-four since 2008 and, furthermore, they are now just 80 minutes from a first Wembley appearance in 37 years.

They thoroughly deserved it after edging Huddersfield Giants last night and, as they prepare for tomorrow’s semi-final draw, it was a perfect response after such a poor showing against Leeds Rhinos last week.

For Huddersfield, joint-bottom of Super League, all they can look forward to is the ignominy of the Qualifiers, their hopes of silverware ended.

There was an emotional tribute beforehand to Ronan Costello, the 17-year-old Giants player who tragically died after an incident during a recent Academy game.

The teenager’s family, friends and team-mates all congregated on the field for a minute’s applause and, understandably, the game started on a sombre note.

Andy Kelly, the head of youth who took over from sacked head coach Paul Anderson last week, had seen Huddersfield deliver a rare win at Salford Red Devils last Friday but, sadly for them, there was no follow up here.

As the search for a new chief goes on, they also lost their centre Joe Wardle to a first-half injury which did not aid their cause.

Indeed, they have not won a Challenge Cup tie against their derby rivals since 1936.

In fairness, it was closer than the scoreline suggested.

Both sides scored four tries apiece but Wakefield’s Liam Finn claimed a faultless six goals from as many attempts compared to Danny Brough, the Giants captain who missed all three of his before Jamie Ellis took over at the death and was also off-target.

Instead, it was Fifita, the ex-Cronulla Sharks forward sin-binned on a forgettable debut during that 32-6 defeat against Leeds, who proved the hero.

He scored after just 84 seconds and powered over for another in the second period to confirm victory.

Trinity boss Chris Chester, who led Hull KR to Wembley last season, had called for character from his side and leadership, especially given the absence of captain Danny Kirmond and vice-skipper Nick Scruton.

They were also missing French prop Mickael Simon but they delivered, digging in when needed after wobbling a little during the first period as Giants came from 14-0 down to 14-8 at the interval.

Wakefield, though, took a giant stride towards victory in the 44th minute when they were gift-wrapped a try by Scott Grix, who sent out a long pass which Tom Johnstone was always going to intercept.

With his blistering pace, the young winger was always going to go the requisite 85m to score, too.

Finn converted and added the fifth of his six goals when Fifita bundled over again off his short pass in the 56th minute to make it 26-8.

Giants hit back immediately via England winger Jermaine McGillvary after winning a short kick-off but Finn added a penalty and though McGillvary added his second try in the 79th minute, it was too late.

Trinity, who won here 10-2 in Super League less than fortnight ago, built up that 14-0 advantage inside just 18 minutes.

Huddersfield were down to 12 men following a yellow card for Brough’s swinging arm on Reece Lyne – a crude challenge that saw the centre leave with concussion.

Ben Jones-Bishop dived over in the corner from that penalty and they looked set for a comfortable passage into the semi-finals.

However, Giants hit back with tries from Grix, who raced in from halfway when Matty Ashurst spilled, and then Jake Connor after ex-Trinity star Brough returned to the field and immediately splintered their defence with a piercing run.

Connor thought he had scored again just 15 seconds before the interval but the Hull FC-bound winger was ruled to have not grounded correctly.

It was a turning point and there will be claims he did, indeed, score, but video official Ben Thaler could not find enough evidence to overturn Gareth Hewer’s on-field decision.

Huddersfield Giants: Grix; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Connor; Brough, Ellis; Crabtree, Hinchcliffe, Rapira, Symonds, Ta’ai, Lawrence. Substitutes: Murphy, Wood, Johnson, Mason.

Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt; Johnstone, Lyne, Tupou, Jones-Bishop; Miller, Finn; Fifita, Moore, England, Molloy, Ashurst, Sio. Substitutes: Arona, Anderson, Annakin, Walton.

Referee: G Hewer (Whitehaven).