Giants revive title challenge
6:34am Friday 30th May 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Huddersfield injected fresh life into their First Utility Super League campaign as they came from behind to claim a morale-boosting 31-22 win over Wigan.
The Giants, last year's League Leaders' Shield winners, were on the end of some stinging criticism from coach Paul Anderson after they capitulated at St Helens last week.
They produced just the response Anderson demanded as they recovered from 12-0 down to overpower injury-ravaged Wigan at the John Smith's Stadium.
Joe Wardle crossed twice while Aaron Murphy and Shaun Lunt also scored in a burst of 25 unanswered points from the Giants.
Jermaine McGillvary put the game beyond Wigan late on while playmaker Danny Brough finished with another 11 points to his name.
Anderson said: "It was a win based on effort and attention.
"It showed we are getting back into some sort of groove, although 20 points conceded is still not good enough.
"I thought we gifted them some points with some poor decisions defensively, but we showed character to come back."
Wigan were without nine frontline players and the game was perhaps one too many for the group of impressive youngsters that have maintained the champions' high standards in recent weeks.
Two returning senior men in captain Sean O'Loughlin and full-back Matty Bowen got them off to a fine start but Huddersfield's substitutions changed the game from the midpoint of the first half.
Dominic Manfredi did give the Warriors hope in the second half but they were beaten by the time Joe Burgess scored their fourth try late on.
Coach Shaun Wane said: "We had them at 12-0 but they made a few changes and a lot of decisions went against us.
"We didn't handle it well and then in the second half we turned over too much ball.
"That team was good enough to win the game but Huddersfield wanted it more.
"They played like a team that has had a tough week from Paul and we played like a team that has had a pat on the back from me. We weren't really tough."
Friday's action sees leaders Leeds travel to Warrington while second-placed St Helens host Salford. Also in the north west, Widnes take on Catalan Dragons.
Warrington, beaten Grand Finalists in the past two seasons, began the year as title favourites but are still to find the form to justify that tag.
They have started to find momentum with a run of three straight wins encompassing an impressive defeat of St Helens, but their credentials now face a stern test against the Rhinos.
Wolves coach Tony Smith said: "You gain confidence from putting some performances together back to back.
"Coming into a game like Leeds you know you have to be good. They are the benchmark of the competition at the moment."
Wolves are without influential forward Ben Westwood, who is suspended, but Leeds welcome back veteran prop Jamie Peacock.