23 Apr 2019

GIANTS EDGE TENSE EASTER MONDAY CLASH

Huddersfield Giants 24-19 London Broncos

Huddersfield Giants came from behind on three occasions to secure a nail-biting, last-gasp 24-19 victory over the London Broncos at the John Smith’s Stadium. 

Simon Woolford made four changes to the side that suffered defeat on Good Friday, with Scott Grix, Innes Senior, Alex Mellor and Matty English replacing Darnell McIntosh, Akuila Uate, Sam Hewitt and Sebastine Ikahihifo.

The first points of the afternoon came just five minutes in, courtesy of the boot of Kieran Dixon, as the Broncos’ winger slotted home a simple penalty from in front of the sticks. 

London extended their lead moments later when Jay Pitts muscled his way through the Giants’ defence after a succession of offloads, and Dixon was on target to add the extra two points. 

The hosts’ situation might have worsened had Jake Wardle not made a brilliant tackle in the corner to deny Dixon, which ultimately sparked the Claret and Gold’s comeback.

Alex Mellor marked his return to the side with an excellent try, racing on to Oliver Russell’s short, flat pass after quick hands across the line. The latter converted and the Giants had reduced the deficit to two points. 

Blink, and you would have missed another try, as the home side went the length of the field from kick-off to register an excellent second.

Innes Senior found himself in acres of space on the left after collecting Jake Wardle’s pass, and the winger held his composure to run 30m before passing back inside to Scott Grix who touched down next to the sticks. 

Russell converted from a simple angle to swing momentum, and the score line, in the Giants’ favour, who now led for the first time in the match, 12-8.

Woolford’s men began the second-half positively, but it was the Broncos who notched the first points as Rhys Williams intercepted a pass on his own try-line to run 95m and put his side back into the ascendancy. 

Dixon continued his 100% kicking record with an impressive effort from the touchline.

The Giants’ responded quickly, though, and it could hardly have been simpler as Jermaine McGillvary slid over in the corner after the ball had been shifted across the width of the field from a scrum. 

Russell’s touchline effort sailed through the middle of the sticks, and his side were ahead once more, 18-14.

That lead only lasted for ten minutes, however, as the Broncos hit back just after the hour mark through Ryan Morgan’s powerful effort.

Kruise Leeming thought he had turned the game back in the Giants’ favour with a solo effort from hooker, but he was deemed to have been held up and the game remained in the balance heading into the latter stages.

Tensions were heightened during a lengthy delay in play after Jordan Turner suffered a nasty injury and had to be helped from the field on a stretcher, but the Giants rallied and pulled together for the final ten minutes.

The two sides traded drop-goal attempts, with Matt Frawley’s effort off target, but Morgan Smith’s sailing over to put the Broncos one-point ahead at 18-19.

With three minutes left, though, the Giants were back ahead in dramatic fashion as Leeming’s ambitious lofted pass found McGillvary and the winger touched down. 

Russell continued his fine form and nailed the touchline kick to set up a nervy finish.

The Broncos nearly snatched victory in the dying seconds when Alex Walker jumped highest to claim a floating cross-field ball in-goal, but his effort was dismissed by the officials and the hosts recorded a remarkable win, much to the relief of the Giants’ faithful

Attendance: 4,464

Huddersfield Giants

Starting XIII: Grix, McGillvary, Turner, Jake Wardle, Innes Senior; Russell, Frawley; Clough, O’Brien, Matagi; Joe Wardle, Mellor, Lawrence.

Replacements: Leeming, Murphy, English, Ta’ai. 

Tries: Mellor (25’), Grix (27’), McGillvary (52’, 77’)

Goals: Russell (4/4)

Drop Goals: Frawley (0/1)

London Broncos

Starting XIII: Walker, Dixon, Morgan, Fleming, Williams; Smith, Cunningham; Butler, Pelissier, Battye; Pitts, Gee, Yates.

Replacements: Ioane, Richards, Adebiyi, Davies.

Tries: Pitts (7’), Williams (46’), Morgan (63’)

Goals: Dixon (3/4)

Drop Goals: Smith (1/1)

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