Superb in the snow: Wolves crush Giants
Warrington Wolves 28 Huddersfield Giants 2
By Alan Domville (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst)
In an unrelenting swirling snowstorm and bitter cold, Warrington gave one of their finest performances in recent years to keep their line intact and narrow the gap on league leaders Huddersfield to one point.
No one could expect a great game in such conditions and yet despite handling errors this was just that - a compelling contest between two great sides but which the Wolves dominated.
All 17 in primrose and blue worked incredibly hard to tame the huge Huddersfield pack and their lively backs who had previously been unbeaten away from home.
Tony Smith was able to recall Trent Waterhouse after injury but decided against playing Ben Harrison, also now recovered from his hernia operation.
Huddersfield were coming off a hard-fought victory against Hull at the John Smiths Stadium and Paul Anderson was able to name the same 19-man squad for this game, electing to start with Jacob Fairbank and Craig Kopczack and to bring in big Eorl Crabtree after 20 minutes.
There were mistakes aplenty throughout the match as players on both sides struggled to overcome the conditions and although it took the Giants six minutes to mount their first attack they did go ahead.
Awarded a penalty near the Warrington line, Danny Brough elected to go for goal. His kick was only just successful, skimming one of the uprights - and it was all they would get all night.
Warrington returned to the offensive and Garreth Carvell's beautiful pass almost put Mike Cooper over near the posts. In the next raid, however, the ball swept to the left and Chris Riley dived over in the corner.
Brett Hodgson landed a superb goal from the touchline - the first his six successful kicks on the night.
Seven minutes later; Warrington were awarded a penalty 20 metres out and Hodgson elected to kick the goal and increase the lead.
With three minutes left before the interval came a really fabulous try.
Ryan Atkins made a tremendous break from half way and served Chris Bridge who was able to put Stefan Ratchford over. Hodgson added the extras and Warrington turned round 14-2 ahead.
Immediately after the resumption Shaun Lunt was punished for a misdemeanour near his own line, Hodgson landing another penalty.
Given the conditions the handling skills of both sides were remarkably good. A Brough kick to the corner looked dangerous but Atkins calmly patted it back and it was taken brilliantly by Richie Myler.
Not until eight minutes from the end would the visitors pose another threat and again the Wolves defence held firm.
Just on threequarter time Myler's grubber meant Huddersfield had to concede a goal line drop-out for the second time in almost as many minutes and they compounded their difficulties by giving away two penalties.
Myler kicked through again and Ratchford touched down; Hodgson converted and the game was won.
But there was still more to come. Just three minutes later Simon Grix crossed but his try was ruled out for obstruction.
Then, a beautiful pass from Myler enabled Hodgson to touch down near the post to give himself an easy conversion.
A Brough kick on the fifth was brilliantly diffused by Joel Monaghan over the goal line but Micky Higham took a knock and had to be replaced.
Huddersfield had one final opportunity to cross the whitewash in the last minute when they were awarded a penalty near the home line and quick kick ahead looked threatening but the ball was safely booted out of play and it was all over.
Warrington had beaten both Huddersfield and the snow to earn a famous victory.
A minutes' silence before the game was held in memory of Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry who died in the IRA bombing of Warrington 20 years ago this week.
Brett Hodgson; Chris Riley, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan; Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler; Garreth Carvell, Michael Monaghan, Chris Hill, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood, Mike Cooper
Substitutes: Mickey Higham, Ben Currie, Trent Waterhouse, Paul Wood
Tries: Riley, Ratchford (2), Hodgson
Goals: Hodgson (6)
Scott Grix; Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Joe Wardle, Aaron Murphy; Danny Brough, Luke Robinson; Stuart Fielden, Shaun Lunt, Craig Kopzcak, Brett Ferres, Dale Ferguson, Jacob Fairbank
Substitutes: Eorl Crabtree, Larne Patrick, Jamie Cording, David Faimu,
Game Pics Below (courtesy of Bob Brough)
22, Mar, 2013