FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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Wild snatches win
Huddersfield centre Stephen Wild?s 50-metre solo dash in the last minute edged out Catalans Dragons 42-34 in a thrilling contest after the visitors looked set for victory.
Wild sprinted into the right corner from close to the halfway line to register a try that put the Giants back in front at 36-34 10 minutes after producing another solo run into the same corner after Dragons second-rower Jamal Fakir dropped the ball.
The hooter went after Wild?s second solo effort but referee Karl Kirkpatrick allowed play to continue and Huddersfield substitute Steve Snitch dived over, with Michael De Vere sealing victory with a conversion.
It was another dramatic twist in an entertaining contest played in searing heat at the Galpharm Stadium.
The Dragons started the match brilliantly and raced into a 10-0 lead through two tries and a conversion in three minutes when Justin Murphy and Renaud Guigue dived over.
Huddersfield winger Matt Gardner scored a hat-trick of tries in 10 first-half minutes to turn the contest around.
All three of Gardner?s touchdowns resulted from virtually identical moves down the right with the outstanding Wild providing the final pass on each occasion.
Gardner reduced the arrears on 16 minutes and then the game appeared to turn in Huddersfield?s favour three minutes later when Dragons scrum-half Stacey Jones was sin-binned for preventing Chris Nero from playing the ball.
Gardner punished the visitors straight away with his second try then completed his first-ever hat-trick for the Giants on 26 minutes by going over unchallenged.
The Dragons, who were 10 points down at the break, roared back with tries from Alex Chan, John Wilson, Julien Rinaldi and Murphy, with Laurent Frayssinous adding four conversions to go 34-32 ahead.
De Vere belted over a penalty for the Giants on 49 minutes and then converted a try from Paul Jackson soon after as the home side desperately clung on in a game where the lead repeatedly changed hands.
The Dragons looked to be on course for victory as they held the advantage late on before Wild had the decisive say.
Huddersfield (20) 42. Tries: Gardner 3, Smith, Jackson, Wild 2, Snitch. Goals: De Vere 5.
Catalans Dragons (10) 34. Tries: Murphy 2, Guigue, Chan, Wilson, Rinaldi. Goals: Frayssinous 5.
Huddersfield: Reilly, Gardner, Wild, De Vere, Donlan, March, Paul, Mason, Drew, Jackson, Nero, Raleigh, Jones. Replacements: Crabtree, Snitch, Smith, McDonald.
Catalans Dragons: Guigue, Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges, Frayssinous, Jones, Beattie, Rinaldi, Fellous, Fakir, Hindmarsh, Rudder. Replacements: Berthezene, Mounis, Chan, Casty.
Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington)