The Huddersfield Giants didn’t play during round one but they got their season off to a start in round two against a Warrington Wolves side that had impressed during round one.
Ian Watson’s men were close to full strength with star signing Jake Connor being the only major omission from the starting 13.
As for Warrington their impressive pack had been dented slightly as Matty Nicholson was the major change from round one, the second-rower injured and joining the suspended Josh McGuire in the stands. Gil Dudson also missed out again with a hand injury.
Regardless of the fact that Wire were three stars shy in the pack it was their physical dominance that showed early on and they used it well.
The brilliant George Williams worked off the back of that and it was his kick that Peter Mata’utia got on the end of to ground the first try of the night, with centre and skipper Stefan Ratchford adding the extras.
Ratchford knocked over the sticks once again just before the 20th minute mark to make it 8-0 to the visitors but they were the last points in what was a very defensive first half.
The low scoring first half meant that it was crucial as to why scored first after the break and it came quickly with James Harrison crossing over after just two minutes and Ratchford doing his job to make it 14-0.
Huddersfield threatened a comeback as Joe Greenwood crossed over in the 52nd before being replaced by the resurgent Chris Hill, which triggered some brutal back and forth completions.
60' After our score, both teams are exchanging sets at a frantic pace.
All I'm saying is, I'm glad I'm not the one out there. 😫
🟠 6 – 14 🐺
— Huddersfield Giants (@Giantsrl) February 24, 2023
Warrington sealed the game though courtesy of Matty Ashton with the winger breaking through just after the hour mark and then snaffling an interception to run over for his second, Warrington’s fourth and ultimately the Giant killing try.
That made the game 26-4 with just 10 minutes to go and planted Warrington’s flag as genuine contenders, a stark improvement from their 11th placed finish last season.
Huddersfield did add two late tries via NRL-bound Will Pryce and new signing Kevin Naiqama but by then the game had been tied up by Warrington, 26-16.
🏁 FT with @ResultingIT
Back-to-back wins to start the new season! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/hMhMKOEsKV
— Warrington Wolves (@WarringtonRLFC) February 24, 2023
The game yielded an attendance of 7,731 which is very impressive from the Giants given the stigma around attendances that exists around the club.
It is true that this attendance is above their average last year and in general but you’d expect that given the expectations at the club and their brilliant season last year.
They have boosted season ticket sales as well.
This will likely only be a blip for the Giants and hopefully the attendance remains high.