Huddersfield 20-32 Warrington: In-form Wolves heap more misery on Giants
Last Updated: 24/02/19 3:04pm
Impressive early-season Super League leaders Warrington Wolves made it three wins out of three in 2019 with a comfortable 32-20 six-try triumph at struggling Huddersfield Giants.
The electric Wire had not won at Huddersfield since March 2014, but that sorry record was blown away in convincing fashion as their bottom-of-the-table hosts continue to search for their first success of the campaign after three failed attempts.
And that sluggish start never looked as if it would come to an end as Warrington proved far too fast, strong and assured for their outclassed hosts, despite a late Giants rally.
The visitors dominated for the vast majority of the opening period and were full value for their 16-4 interval advantage.
With the Wolves pack laying a solid foundation, impressive Australian half-back Blake Austin was allowed to pull all the strings and was at the heart of all three of his side's first-half tries.
Within 10 minutes, the inspirational No 6 was weaving his magic, mesmerising Giants winger Akuila Uate with a neat grubber kick which the defender fumbled to present Ryan Atkins with a gift four points, which goal-kicker Stefan Ratchford then turned into six with the conversion.
Then, five minutes later, Austin was involved in a sweeping move across the face of the Huddersfield defence that produced just enough space for Josh Charnley to finish strongly in the corner.
Ratchford failed to add the extras but followed up quickly with a penalty before Charnley added his second try in the 34th minute after picking up Austin's cut-out pass low down to cross over.
At 16-0, it was looking ominous for the hosts. But Giants' England winger Jermaine McGillvary provided his side with a ray of hope three minutes before the break by picking up Darnell McIntosh's long, looping pass on the bounce and then squeezing the ball in at the corner.
And the level of optimism had increased significantly within five minutes of the restart when Matty English crashed over from close range before Lee Gaskell added the extras.
It proved to be shortlived, however, with home prop Adam Walne sent to the sin bin two minutes later for an illegal challenge on Chris Hill, who was immediately withdrawn from the firing line.
Ratchford failed to land the subsequent penalty, but the Warrington fans were able to cheer moments later when Dec Patton's lovely crossfield kick was plucked out of the air by Atkins for his second of the night. This time Ratchford was on target with his goal attempt.
Austin then backed up his first-half service role by turning his attentions to tryscoring by dummying his way over from close range on the hour for Warrington's fifth try to make it 26-10 and effectively signal the beginning of the end.
Unfortunately for the home side, the misery was not over, with Ben Murdoch-Masila crashing over from a yard out five minutes later for another converted score.
Jordan Turner and Uate did cross for Huddersfield with five minutes remaining as the Wolves took their foot off the gas, but it was scant consolation for the men in claret and gold, who were clearly second best on the night.