Super League: Huddersfield Giants 12-14 St Helens – champions hold off hosts' fightback

St Helens celebrate a try against Huddersfield
Konrad Hurrell (centre) scored St Helens’ first try and created their second, scored by Tommy Makinson (left)
Huddersfield (6) 12
Tries: Golding, Senior Goals: Russell 2
St Helens (12) 14
Tries: Hurrell, Makinson Goals: Makinson 3

St Helens held off a Huddersfield fightback to earn their third win in five Super League outings this season.

Both sides are tipped for success in 2023 and produced an intense match-up.

Konrad Hurrell and Tommy Makinson put Saints into a 12-0 lead but Ashton Golding’s try two minutes before half-time kept the home side in touch.

Makinson kicked a penalty to extend St Helens’ advantage to eight and although Huddersfield responded with an Innes Senior try, the Giants fell just short.

Ian Watson’s side are fancied by many to be in the mix for honours this term but, after narrow home losses to Warrington and Wigan in the opening weeks of the season, they again lost to a potential title rival by a small margin.

They at times lacked a clinical edge against a St Helens team that has had a mixed start to their Super League title defence, not helped by the exertions of their World Club Challenge success in Australia last month.

But late on, Saints produced an exceptional defensive effort to achieve their sixth successive win over Huddersfield in all competitions and move within four points of early Super League leaders Warrington and Catalans.

Tonga centre Hurrell came to the fore as Saints scored twice in three first-half minutes, first collecting Jack Welsby’s pass to crash over before flicking a pass on for England winger Makinson to go in at the corner.

Huddersfield had shaded the opening 25 minutes before the visitors’ quickfire double and finally registered points with Golding’s opportunist try from dummy-half, which sent the Giants into half-time six points behind.

The second-half introduction of the mercurial Jake Connor, who came off the bench to make his first Huddersfield appearance since leaving for Hull FC at the end of 2016, gave fresh impetus to the hosts’ attack and a sustained spell of pressure ended with Senior touching down in the corner.

However, the visitors were able to keep Huddersfield out in the closing 15 minutes to gain an important victory.

Huddersfield prop Chris Hill told BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra:

“We knew we had to meet fire with fire and I thought we did that. There wasn’t much between the two teams – just little one percenters probably and they were clinical in what they did.

“We’re probably near enough at the minute, but just not quite there in bits we do. Jake [Connor] coming back and getting a few games under his belt will help.

“There’s plenty of time left in the season, there’s nothing won or lost yet, but we need to start clicking.”

St Helens winger Tommy Makinson:

“It’s a proper win, that. It was tough, Huddersfield are a great side and there’s a reason they’re challenging every year.

“We just had to get that done, after a few question marks have been raised. That’s a really good win and it stands us in good stead.

“We’ve all got improvement in us, we’re all not at the peak of our performance yet. You can quite easily be sitting on the opposite scoreline against a great team like Huddersfield, but it’s two points in the bag and we’ll go again.”

Huddersfield: Pryce; Golding, Halsall, Naiqama, Senior; Marsters, Russell; Hill, Peats, Trout, McQueen, Livett, Yates.

Interchanges: Connor, Ikahihifo, Rushton, Ashworth.

St Helens: Welsby; Makinson, Hurrell, Hopoate, Bennison; Lomax, Dodd; Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Mata’utia, Sironen, Bell.

Interchanges: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Royle.

Referee: Jack Smith


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