A POOR start condemned Wakefield Trinity to an eighth defeat in ten Betfred Super League fixtures.
Trinity staged a spirited fightback and were the better team for much of an entertaining Magic Weekend clash, but they had left themselves too much to do after going 18-0 behind in 24 minutes to the side who knocked them out of the Challenge Cup last weekend.
A try eight minutes before the break gave Trinity hope and they played some good rugby in the second half, aided by Giants’ ill-discipline, but Danny Brough’s one-pointer on the final play of the opening period proved crucial as Huddersfield held on to win 25-22.
That goal – and a late missed conversion from Liam Finn –meant Trinity had to tap a kickable penalty three minutes from time and they were kept out by some desperate scrambling defence from Giants,
Trinity’s rally began in the 32nd minute and that proved to be just too late.
Matty Ashurst’s kick rebounded off Jermaine McGillvary and the second-rower regathered to go over for a reviving try which Finn converted.
Wakefield’s only clear chance before that came moments after Giants’ first try when Mason Caton-Brown, preferred to Tom Johnstone on the left-wing, seemed to have touched down at the flag.
Referee James Child handed the decision on as no try and his video assistant Chris Kendall agreed, spotting the winger had been tackled into touch by McGillvary before getting the ball down.
Aaron Murphy, normally a three-quarter but playing in the second-row, opened the scoring against his former club from a strong run by Ukuma Ta’ai on 11 minutes and seven later Murphy was pulled down just short and Adam O’Brien went through a big gap from acting-half.
On 24 minutes Mamo crossed from Murphy’s pass and Brough landed his third conversion.
At that stage Trinity looked to be on course for a hiding, but what happened next made their performance in the opening quarter even more frustrating.
After Ashurst’s try, Brough booted a 40-20 and then landed his precious drop goal in the resulting set.
Giants’ strong start came on the back of four successive penalties.
Trinity got the next three in the first half and then two more in the opening moments of the second period, leading to a team warning.
Kruise Leeming then immediately conceded another, for holding down and was sin-binned. At the end of the resulting set Jacob Miller, who had a good game for Wakefield, grubbered over the line and Ben Jones-Bishop touched down.
Child indicated no try, but was overruled by Kendall and Finn’s goal cut the gap to seven points.
Having got themselves back in it, Trinity conceded back-to-back penalties, the second in front of their posts.
Giants tapped it and Darnell McIntosh dived over at the corner for a superb try, which was matched by Brough’s touchline conversion.
That penalty had been conceded by Pauli Pauli, but he made amends with the pass which sent Jones-Bishop in for his second try with 23 minutes left, Finn maintaining his 100 per cent record with the boot.
Rankin thought he had won it for Giants with 15 minutes remaining.
Child indicated try, but Kendall ruled it out for an obstruction.
That spared the blushes of Ryan Hampshire whose knock-on at the other end had cost Trinity a try moments earlier.
Hampshire, playing at full-back, had made a poor decision at the end of the first half when he hung on to the ball, with players in support and was tackled on the last close to the line.
Reece Lyne capped a strong performance by handing off Mamo to score an unconverted try with six minutes left and Wakefield threw some heavy pressure at Giants in a frantic finale, but couldn’t find another way through.
Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire, Jones-Bishop, Tupou, Lyne, Caton-Brown, Miller, Finn, Fifita, Randell, Hirst, Kirmond, Ashurst, Arona. Subs Wood, Huby, Pauli, Horo.
Huddersfield Giants: Rankin, McGillvary, Gaskell, Mamo, McIntosh, Turner, Brough, Ta’ai, O’Brien, Clough, Mellor, Murphy, Hinchcliffe. Subs Leeming, Dickinson, English, Ikahihifo.
Referee: James Child (Batley).