Hull FC were edged out by a resurgent Huddersfield side in a scrappy affair in West Yorkshire on Thursday night, going down 19-12 at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Black & Whites scored through Adam Swift’s 16th of the season and a rare try from Brad Fash, but that wasn’t enough as Huddersfield claimed the spoils with a late Chris McQueen try and Olly Russell drop-goal in the closing stages.
Tony Smith made jut two changes from the 17 men that defeated Castleford Tigers last time out, as Carlos Tuimavave wasn’t risked with a minor hamstring injury and was replaced in the matchday squad by Joe Lovodua.
However, that brought about a reshuffle for the Black & Whites, as Cam Scott, who bagged a brace in the Tigers win moved from backrow to centre, and Jordan Lane moved into the starting side.
Darnell McIntosh returned to the right wing in place of youngster Harvey Barron after missing the victory over the Tigers with tightness in his heel.
Ian Watson named an unchanged team for Huddersfield after their impressive victory over Wakefield Trinity a fortnight ago.
Former Hull man Jake Connor remained at full back for the Giants, whilst Adam Milner started at hooker with Nathan Peats on the interchange bench.
The first-half at the John Smith’s Stadium was an even affair, with neither side at their best through the first period, and that showed in the half-time scoreline as the teams headed into the break level.
Huddersfield started the game the stronger of the two sides, as Hull struggled to make meters upfield in the opening exchanges.
The Giants had the first chance of the match, as Jake Trueman could only palm an attempted interception in the air, but a strong tackle on Chris McQueen by Jake Clifford before a Luke Yates knock-on saw the opportunity go begging.
Hull had the next attacking opportunity of the half after a six-again in midfield, but couldn’t make that chance count as a miscommunication between Jake Trueman and Joe Cator saw the ball go to ground underneath the posts.
From the resulting set Hull looked to have pinned their hosts in their own 20 meter zone, but a huge kick from Jake Connor went for a 40/20 and returned the ball to the Giants.
From that set Connor was heavily influential again, and found a wide pass to Jermaine McGillvary in enough space for the experienced winger to squeeze in in the corner.
That try seemed to spark the Black & Whites into life, and it took just four minutes for the scores to level up.
A strong carry from Jake Clifford beat the first defender, and Jordan Lane came steaming through in support, and he gave Adam Swift enough time and space to beat Connor and score out wide. Sutcliffe levelled the scores from the touchline.
Hull scored again soon after, with a rare try from Brad Fash. Play opened up in centrefield for Joe Cator to march towards the posts. On the next tackle Trueman took the ball to the line, drawing both markers, and he turned it back inside for Fash to fall under the sticks.
The Giants completed the scoring for the half 3 minutes later, as Olly Russell chipped over the top for Tui Lolohea, and the Tongan won the battle with Davy Litten to ground a bouncing ball in goal.
HALF-TIME: Huddersfield Giants 12 – 12 Hull FC
An even second half unfolded in West Yorkshire, with very few clear cut chances for either side.
Hull were dealt an early blow in the half as Liam Sutcliffe went off with a nasty looking hand injury, and he didn’t return for the rest of the match, as Joe Lovodua came on in the second row and Jordan Lane moved to centre. Sutcliffe wasn’t the only centre with an injury concern as Cam Scott also left the field with an ankle injury for the final 15 minutes.
Huddersfield had the first real clear cut chance of the half, but Jake Connor’s attempted pass to Sam Halsall found touch rather than his wing man, with a numbers advantage for the Giants on the Hull right.
Hull probed and probed but couldn’t quite find their way through, Ligi Sao coming close after a Brad Dwyer scamper on the last tackle perhaps the best opportunity for the Black & Whites in the second half.
The first points of the half came with just 10 minutes to play, as Chris McQueen got on the outside of his man with a trademark run to edge Huddersfield in front, and that was a lead they would see out for the final exchanges, Olly Russell adding to his 3/3 from the tee with a drop goal to move the hosts seven points in front.
FULL-TIME: Huddersfield Giants 19-12 Hull FC
Huddersfield: Jake Connor, Jermaine McGillvary, Kevin Naiqama, Jake Bibby, Sam Halsall, Tui Lolohea, Olly Russell, Chris Hill, Adam Milner, Oliver Wilson, Leroy Cudjoe, Chris McQueen, Luke Yates
Huddersfield Interchanges: Joe Greenwood, Matty English, Nathan Peats, Sam Hewitt
18th Man: Ashton Golding
Hull: Davy Litten, Darnell McIntosh, Cam Scott, Liam Sutcliffe, Adam Swift, Jake Trueman, Jake Clifford, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Brad Fash, Jordan Lane, Andre Savelio, Joe Cator
Hull Interchanges: Brad Dwyer, Chris Satae, Joe Lovodua, Scott Taylor
18th Man: Jack Brown
Huddersfield Tries: Jermaine McGillvary (13), Tui Lolohea (27), Chris McQueen (70)
Huddersfield Goals: Olly Russell (3/3) + 1 DG
Hull Tries: Adam Swift (18), Brad Fash (23)
Hull Goals: Liam Sutcliffe (2/2)
Attendance, in association with Garbutts: 4579
Peregrine Property Man of the Match: Jake Clifford