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Round 9: Hull
Hull offered a significant ray of hope to their new coach Peter Sharp after overcoming Huddersfield 26-18 at the Galpharm Stadium.
Parramatta number two Sharp was announced as the Black and Whites? successor to John Kear on Monday, although the credit for this win will go to the current caretaker coach, Richard Agar, as Sharp does not arrive in East Yorkshire for another two weeks.
Having lost an alarming six of their last seven games, Agar will be pleased at the way his side arrested their mini-crisis, especially as they were given a tough examination from Jon Sharp?s Huddersfield.
The Giants were looking to bounce back from last week?s loss at Salford and a polished first-half showing saw them lead 10-8 at the interval after tries from Martin Aspinwall, who went on to post a hat-trick, and Chris Nero, although Hull, inspired by substitute Danny Brough, were comfortably the better side in the second half.
Agar was able to welcome Nathan Blacklock back into his side after injury and the Australian winger played a key role in Hull opening an early lead. First he was involved in the move that saw Lee Radford, Chris Chester and Richard Horne combine to send Sid Domic flying in at the corner, before Horne then fed Blacklock to register his second try of the season.
Paul Cooke failed to convert on both occasions and was made to pay for his profligacy as Huddersfield quickly took the lead.
On the back of the game?s first penalty, the Giants made their way down field, where Stuart Jones fed Aspinwall who crashed over in the corner. James Evans could have added a second try just moments later, falling just short of collecting Chris Thorman?s kick, although Thorman was able to turn provider shortly after.
The skipper broke clear of Hull?s defence and with men inside and outside of him, picked the correct option in feeding Nero who tumbled over the line. Thorman?s goal edged the home side ahead 10-8, a scoreline that stood until the interval.
Hull began the second period with renewed purpose, although their revival did not really begin until Agar introduced Brough from the bench. The scrum-half was needed too, as Cooke and Horne were failing to cause the home side any trouble with a predictable kicking game.
Brough soon posted a penalty to level the scores and, as the hour mark approached, Hull edged ahead with another quickfire double. First Blacklock posted his second score after a superb Domic pass, before Kirk Yeaman fought his way over for his 10th of the season in the opposite corner after Matt Gardner had spilt Brough?s kick.
Brough?s touchline goal opened up a 10-point lead, although Aspinwall, as in the first half, soon responded with a try after good work from Thorman again.
With both sides looking for a killer score, it was Hull who struck the next, decisive blow. After their forwards, marshalled by the outstanding Richard Swain, drove them downfield, Horne was on hand to squirm over the line from close range. Brough?s goal left the scoreline at 14-26.
Huddersfield added a last-minute try as Aspinwall completed his treble, but it was too little, too late.
Huddersfield (10) 18. Tries: Aspinwall 3, Nero. Goals: Thorman.
Hull (8) 26. Tries: Domic, Blacklock 2, Yeaman, R. Horne. Goals: Brough 3.
Huddersfield: Reilly, Aspinwall, Evans, Nero, Gardner, Thorman, Paul, Crabtree, Drew, Jackson, Smith, Jones, Wild. Replacements: Donlan, March, McDonald, Raleigh.
Hull: Tony, Blacklock, Yeaman, Domic, Dixon, Cooke, R. Horne, Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, Hill, Chester. Replacements: Thackray, Brough, Wheeldon, Whiting.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington)