A MAGNIFICENT fightback by Wakefield Trinity ended Huddersfield Giants six-game winning run and almost certainly their top-four hopes.
Trinity were rampant in the second half and full value for a stunning win that left Huddersfield six points outside the play-off places with only four games remaining.
Giants led 12-0 in the opening quarter and by 10 points early in the second half, but injuries and changes took their toll and they were outplayed in the final 53 minutes when Trinity scored six tries without reply.
Wakefield had only pride to play for, but regained their early season form after a shaky start to the game, with Tom Johnstone, Ryan Hampshire and Pauli Pauli leading the way.
Johnstone shone opposite England winger Jermaine McGillvary, scoring a brace of tries and setting up another.
Hampshire bagged 18 points through a try and seven goals from as many attempts and Pauli’s introduction off the bench helped turn the tide in the first half.
Huddersfield were hampered by injuries to Darnell McIntosh and Colton Roche and McGillvary also went off late on.
Though Suaia Matagi had a big game, they were second-best over the final hour and well-beaten in the end.
Huddersfield opened the scoring after 12 minutes through McGillvary, who got over at the corner from centre Leroy Cudjoe’s high pass. Danny Brough’s conversion from the touchline took him past ex-Wigan man Pat Richards into fourth spot on Super League’s all-time list of points scorers behind only Kevin Sinfield, Paul Deacon and Andy Farrell.
Brough added two more to his total five minutes later when Ukuma Ta’ai burst through the middle past Craig Huby, who had kept Matagi out on the previous play.
At that stage Huddersfield looked to be cruising, but back-to-back penalties got Trinity into the game, very much against the run of play, four minutes into the second quarter, Johnstone getting over at the corner off excellent work by Bill Tupou.
Johnstone showed his defensive mettle moments later by shoving Ginats’ McGillvary into touch when he looked set to dash over.
Pauli’s barnstorming charges almost let to a second Trinity try, but Jordan Rankin prevented Johnstone from grounding the ball when he got over the line from another Tupou pass.
Huddersfield caught Trinity cold at the start of the second half when a runaround between Lee Gaskell and Ta’ai led to an unconverted try for former Wakefield man Aaron Murphy.
But a moment of carelessness by Giants got Wakefield back in the game almost immediately and three tries in 11 minutes set Wakefield on course to end Huddersfield’s hot streak.
The second half rout began when Kruise Leeming hurled a pass straight at Johnstone, who accelerated away from inside his own half to score his second touchdown.
That cut the gap to four points and Wakefield hit the front when Hampshire scored a remarkable try, racing through to touch down after Ben Jones-Bishop had made a break and kicked infield. Jacob Miller’s kick was then dropped by Jordan Turner and Grix reacted well to grab the four-pointer.
That knocked the heart out of Giants and Trinity were rampant in the closing stages, despite a 5-0 penalty count against them in the final 40 minutes. Jones-Bishop got in on the scoring act with 11 minutes left, making an outstanding catch from Hampshire’s cross kick.
Four minutes later Johnstone raced clear and Miller was in support to cross and then Grix wrapped up an excellent night for the visitors with his second try in the next set.
Huddersfield Giants: Rankin, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, McIntosh, Gaskell, Brough, Ta’ai, O’Brien. Matagi, Mellor, Murphy, Hinchcliffe. Substitutes: Leeming, Lawrence, Clough, Roche.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, Huby, Wood, Arona, Ashurst, Batchelor, Crowther. Substitutes: Randell, Annakin, Pauli, Hirst.
Referee: G Hewer (Whitehaven).