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Super League: Danny Brough inspires Huddersfield to 28-14 win over Widnes
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Huddersfield maintained their late-season momentum with a fourth straight win to leave Widnes sweating over their Super League play-off spot.
While a 28-14 victory, masterminded by reigning Man of Steel Danny Brough, kept alive the sixth-placed Giants' hopes of a top-four finish, the Vikings are just two points ahead of Hull KR in their battle to hang onto eighth place and secure a first-ever play-off spot.
However, Vikings coach Denis Betts will be pleased with the way his side responded to their 28-6 Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Castleford.
They were leading 8-6 until a flash of inspiration from Brough created a length-of-the-field try for centre Joe Wardle on the stroke of half-time and the Giants skipper went on to boss the show in the second half.
Beaten 22-20 at Widnes in March, Huddersfield dominated the opening exchanges and went ahead on six minutes when loose forward Larne Patrick took a short pass from impressive prop Eorl Crabtree to charge over for the game's first try.
Brough's conversion made it 6-0 and the Giants would have been further ahead had full-back Scott Grix not been denied a try for a forward pass.
A run of four consecutive penalties enabled Widnes to mount a sustained period of attack and, after both wingers Paddy Flynn and Patrick Ah Van went close, loose forward Danny Tickle weaved his way through the middle to score their first try.
Tickle levelled the scores with the conversion and edged his side in front with a 38-metre penalty four minutes before half-time.
An interception near his own line by Dave Allen, followed quickly by a 40-20 kick from Lloyd White, enabled the Vikings to keep the pressure on but Huddersfield struck on the stroke of half-time with a spectacular try.
Brough opted to kick long from a scrum near his own line for pacy winger Jodie Broughton, who hacked the ball ahead for Wardle to touch down for the fifth consecutive match.
Brough's second goal made it 12-8 at the break and that is how it stayed for much of the second half as both sides struggled to handle the blustery conditions at the John Smith's Stadium.
Brough's long pass created an opening for Broughton but he failed to apply the finishing touch and the Giants had to wait until the 64th minute to put some daylight between them and their visitors.
Inevitably Brough was the architect, working the ball out to the right where Aaron Murphy sent winger Jermaine McGillvary in for his 19th try of the season.
Huddersfield then made sure of the win when prop Antonio Kaufusi took Brough's pass to power his way over for their fourth try on 69 minutes.
Widnes full-back Rhys Hanbury pulled a try back seven minutes from the end but Huddersfield had the final say when lively hooker Shaun Lunt forced his way over from dummy half and Brough kicked his fourth goal.
The win sees the Giants move level on points with fourth-placed Warrington and fifth-placed Castleford.Super League. Click here to bet.
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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