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Super League: Huddersfield cement top-six spot with win over Catalan
Winger Jermaine McGillvary scored the 100th try of his career as Huddersfield cruised to a sixth successive home win over Catalan Dragons to cement their top-six spot in the First Utility Super League.
McGillvary touched down in each half to take his total for the season to 17, while centre Joe Wardle also got two tries as the Danny Brough-inspired Giants bossed the show to clinch a 38-16 win over their French visitors.
The match continued the dismal away form of the Dragons who have lost just twice in the south of France this year, but have only managed to beat relegated sides London Broncos and Bradford on their travels.
Their last win at the John Smith's Stadium was in the 2009 play-offs and any hope of them bridging that gap disappeared within the first quarter.
Despite perfect conditions, the two sides came up with four knock-ons between them inside the first four minutes and that set the pattern for a scrappy affair. Catalan were especially frail in defence and they conceded three tries in the first 18 minutes.
A rampaging run from prop Antonio Kaufusi set up the position for hooker Kyle Wood to go over for the first and centre Aaron Murphy, back from a five-match absence with a broken hand, seized on a handling error from Leon Pryce to add the second.
As the Giants maintained the pressure, loose forward Chris Bailey lost the ball over the line before McGillvary squeezed over at the corner for his landmark try.
Brough was successful with just one of his three conversion attempts and the slow-starting Dragons pulled a try back after 28 minutes when lively replacement hooker Eloi Pelissier nipped over after prop Lopini Paea had been brought down just short of the line.
Sam Williams' goal cut the deficit to eight points but that was as good as it got for the visitors.
Huddersfield, who lost Wood with a twisted ankle midway through the first half, extended their lead five minutes into the second half when Catalan passing broke down on halfway and Wardle scooped up the loose ball to sprint 50 metres for an opportunist try.
That score came against the run of play but it helped the Giants tighten their stranglehold on the contest.
Second rower Ukuma Ta'ai and replacement hooker Kruise Leeming both reached the line only to have tries disallowed but the pressure told when Brough's weaving run created an opening for McGillvary to go over for his second try.
Brough kicked his third goal, this time from the touchline, to make it 26-6 before the Catalans pulled a try back when centre Ben Pomeroy put his winger Michael Oldfield over at the corner.
However, there was no sign of Huddersfield relaxing their grip and Wardle juggled with the ball from Brough's kick to score his second try before second rower Brett Ferres forced his way over for his side's seventh.
The Dragons lost Pomeroy with a back injury near the end but they gained some consolation when winger Daryl Millard broke clear to get full-back Morgan Escare over for his 21st try of the season, with Williams kicking his second goal.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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