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Giants storm Warriors' fortress
Huddersfield defy injury problems for win at the DW Stadium
Huddersfield shrugged off the absence of seven first-choice players to pull off a 20-16 opening-round win over 2010 Super League champions Wigan.
The Giants were lacking six regulars through injury and new signing Tony Tonks to suspension, but knocked Wigan off their stride from the kick-off and thoroughly deserved their victory.
Huddersfield's hero was 23-year-old Larne Patrick, who had been expected to miss the start of the new season after breaking a wrist in training but made a rapid recovery in time to answer his club's front-row injury crisis.
The visitors were clinging to a tenuous 8-6 lead when Patrick went on as substitute and grabbed two tries in 10 minutes to put them in control.
The Giants were also indebted to 21-year-old Jacob Fairbank, who was drafted in as a makeshift prop and played the first 67 minutes to help lay a solid platform for their win while Greg Eden, Tommy Lee, Luke George and Jason Chan all made impressive debuts for the Yorkshiremen.
Welshman Ben Flower, one of Wigan's two debutants, caught the eye, but it was overall a performance to forget from the Warriors in front of a 16,771 crowd at the DW Stadium.
They created the first scoring opportunity, with centre George Carmont cleverly releasing his winger Pat Richards into space, but Danny Brough got back to gather the ball from the winger's kick.
Former Wigan half-back Luke Robinson, the Giants acting captain, was an early thorn in the Warriors side with his darting runs from half-back and it was the visitors who took the lead midway through the first half when second rower Lee Gilmour cut a superb line after gathering full-back Eden's pass to cross for the opening try.
The Giants generally kept a tight rein on dangerman Sam Tomkins, but the full-back kept Wigan firmly in the picture when he scythed through the Huddersfield defence for a trademark try after 32 minutes.
Brough added a penalty to his earlier conversion three minutes before half-time to edge his side into an 8-6 lead and the visitors went further ahead nine minutes into the second half after some wonderful opportunistic play.
Ever-dangerous winger Jermaine McGillvary collected Brough's kick and, when he hacked the ball forward, Shaun Lunt was the first of a posse of Huddersfield players to react and he set up the position for Patrick to crash over for his first try.
Brough's third goal made it 14-6, only for Wigan to strike back after 54 minutes when stand-off Brett Finch sent substitute forward Liam Farrell over for his side's second try, with Richards kicking his second goal.
However, Patrick restored the Giants' eight-point advantage four minutes later when he went through the tackle of Tomkins and showed a neat turn of speed to touch down from 30 metres out.
Brough maintained his 100 per cent record with the boot to make it 20-12, although Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin gave his side renewed hope when he forced his way over from acting half-back five minutes from the end.
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 16 - 58 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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