|12th Mar 2006|| Super League||AWAY ||8010 ||(HT:12:4)|
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 25. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : Saints made hard work of defeating Huddersfield Giants at a wintry Galpharm Stadium. However with a defensive performance that was once again so dominant, a Giants victory always looked unlikely.
Saints shrugged off the absence of Sean Long and James Roby by scoring the quickest try of the season so far, breaching the Huddersfield defence after just 47 seconds. Regaining the ball from the kick-off, Saints moved the ball to the right, and Gardner took advantage of the overlap to score in the corner, for his fourth try in five games.
Lyon’s touchline conversion was an early boost to the scoreboard– and one which took on great significance in the final analysis.
Huddersfield have, with the exception of one half against Wigan, a solid defensive record and were not going to be blown away in the opening minutes easily.
They dug in, concentrating on the basics to shift play upfield, and on twelve minutes took the opportunity to get on the scoreboard when Chris Thorman slotted over a penalty from 30 metres. However good half chances in open play created by the home side foundered on some wrong choices as well.
Saints remained resolute in defence, with Gardner in particular standing out for good work in halting Albert Torrens’s break, then avoiding conceding a drop-out by determined play.
However carelessness did not aid their cause, with Francis Meli coughing the ball up on his own twenty metre line and Leon Pryce conceding a penalty on the last tackle.
The Giants did not have everything their own way, and substitute Maurie Fa’asavalu was proving to be a handful for the Giants defence. Saints always looked threatening, and for the third week running had a try harshly disallowed for a forward pass, Paul Sculthorpe the unlucky player this time on his return from a one-match ban.
Saints did score their second try of the game shortly afterwards, as stand-off Pryce burst through the defensive line on halfway, and accelerating away downfield. As ever, Jamie Lyon was in support and he stepped inside to touch down.
Huddersfield kept in touch through the boot of Thorman with two penalties either side of half-time as they took advantage of a 7-1 penalty count to get within one score at 12-6.
Coach Daniel Anderson sought to inject some fluency into the attack, introducing 18 year-old Matty Smith for his first-team debut on fifty-three minutes, but it was the Giants who scored next. Thorman hoisted a huge kick and, when the ball fell loose, Brad Drew was on hand to score.
Crucially Thorman missed with the conversion attempt and two minutes later Saints had opened up an 8-point lead, Fa’asavalu crashing over from short range after Talau and Meli had combined to sweep Saints downfield.
However a tense final ten minutes was in store when Stephen Wild was the beneficiary of Paul March’s sixty-metre break to reduce the gap back to two points. Despite some nervous moments, Saints held on to maintain their 100% record and their place at the top of the engage Super League XI table.
Huddersfield Giants: Paul Reilly, Martin Aspinwall, Michael De Vere, Albert Torrens, Matt Gardner, Chris Thorman, Robbie Paul, Eorl Crabtree, Brad Drew, Steve Snitch, Chris Nero, Stuart Jones, Stephen Wild.
Subs: Paul March, Paul Smith, Wayne McDonald, Andy Raleigh.
Tries: Drew, Wild.
Goals: Thorman (4 from 5)
Saints: Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Jamie Lyon, Willie Talau, Francis Meli, Leon Pryce, Scott Moore, Jason Cayless, Keiron Cunningham, Paul Anderson, Lee Gilmour, Paul Sculthorpe, Jason Hooper.
Subs: Jon Wilkin, Matty Smith, Vinnie Anderson, Maurie Fa’asavalu.
Tries: Gardner, Lyon, Fa’asavalu.
Goals: Lyon (3 from 3)
Referee: R Silverwood
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