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“Outstanding” – Ian Watson on game-changer as Huddersfield Giants show up Leeds Rhinos

Huddersfield Giants

Huddersfield Giants boss Ian Watson has lauded the impact new recruit Adam Swift has had since his switch to the John Smith’s. 

Swift swapped Black and White for Claret and Gold this off-season and has made a fantastic start to life in West Yorkshire. He has made 10 appearances to date and has run in 14 tries in total; including seven in the two matches against Hull FC.

Speaking to the media following his side’s 30-24 victory over Leeds Rhinos, Watson said he was the player Huddersfield had missed in recent seasons: “He’s been outstanding. Last year we opened some spaces up last year but we weren’t able to finish him; he’s finishing them.”

He added: “You can’t underestimate the importance of having a winger who can just sniff out a try or nothing, like the try that he scored tonight; jumping over from dummy half and getting right into that tight in the corner there and being able to finish it.”

The St Helens native began his career with his hometown team and went on to wear the Red Vee on 130 occasions across seven seasons.

His time at St Helens would have instilled a winning mentality, however, Watson detailed he also has a genuine passion for the game.

“He’s cheeky, he’s unbelievably cheeky; but the one thing that’s really clear with Swifty is he wants to win. It comes out in him when he talks, in training, when he’s in games; but he has fun doing it as well.”

Watson added: “He cracked a joke halfway through the game last week against Catalan towards me on the touchline. I’ve never known anybody do that, but he just loves what he does. He’s enjoying what he’s doing as well, so hopefully that continues and he can crack a few more.”

Adam Swift played an important role in guiding the Giants to victory over Leeds. He notched a try himself and also gave the offload to send Harvey Livett in. He also played a huge part in Elliot Wallis’ try, as his stellar 60-meter break gave the Giants the field position to strike from.

Leeds Rhinos vs Huddersfield Giants: Rhinos suffer late collapse to lose fourth home game in a row

Credit: IMAGO

Huddersfield Giants twice overturned a 10-point deficit to record a famous win over West Yorkshire rivals Leeds Rhinos.

Ian Watson’s men put on an attacking masterclass in the second-half to condemn Leeds Rhinos to a fourth straight home defeat, thanks to tries from Esan Marsters, Kevin Naiqama, Harvey Livett, Adam Swift and Elliot Wallis.

There was plenty of pressure on the Rhinos ahead of the game, but they made a bright start. A fantastic line from Mik Oledzki sliced open the Huddersfield defence, however, he couldn’t connect with Brodie Croft and the chance went begging.

Both teams went onto exchanges sets, with neither able to gain a foothold in the contest.

A wonderful solo run from Lachie Miller allowed Rhinos to gain the upper hand, and this eventually led to Paul Momirovski opening the scoring after he wrong-footed Elliot Wallis.

Leeds piled on the pressure after this, and created two clear-cut chances. The first came from a Momirovski line-break, and the second fell to Harry Newman; however they couldn’t deliver the killer blow.

Huddersfield came back strong though, and threatened the Leeds line. A sweeping move through the right edge found the ball in Wallis’ hands, but solid defence from opposite man Luis Roberts forced the former Castleford Tiger into touch.

Leeds gained a numerical advantage as Luke Yates was sent to the sin-bin, and they made it count as David Fusitu’a pounced on Brodie Croft’s stab kick for their second of the half.

With the clock winding down, Jake Connor knocked over a penalty goal to make it 12-2 at the break.

Huddersfield came out the traps flying in the second-half, scoring a quick fire double to pull level. The first fell to Esan Marsters, as he barrelled through three Leeds defenders to score. His effort was swiftly followed by Wallis, who reaped the rewards of a brilliant Adam Swift break.

This Giants joy was short lived though, as Leeds Rhinos hit back with a quick-fire double of their own.

Momirovski was the lucky recipient of the first try, after a well-worked move found him in space on the right wing. His effort was swiftly followed by Jarrod O’Connor, who cut a powerful line to slice open the Huddersfield Giants defence and dive under the sticks.

The scoring didn’t end there though, as Huddersfield scored three back-to-back tries, with Marsters and Swift again at the heart of it. A powerful surge from the Cook Island international saw him tackled inches from the line, allowing Swift to burrow over from dummy half.

The pair were at it again moments later, as the centre broke through the Leeds line. He connected with Swift, who in turn found Harvey Livett and he (quite literally) fell over the line to score.

His effort was swiftly followed by the third, as Kevin Naiqama crossed. A clever tap-back pass from the night’s pantomime villain Connor found the centre in space, and he raced home for the try. Connor was unable to convert any of the tries though, which kept the scores level.

A poorly executed goal-line dropout from Miller gifted Connor a penalty in front of the sticks, giving the Giants a two-point lead with just four minutes left.

With the clock winding down, Adam Clune put the final nail in the coffin for the Giants as he raced home after a clever Naiqama interception.

There would be one last thing for the Huddersfield Giants faithful to cheer, as Miller was sent to the sin-bin with eight seconds to go. Metaphorical, in a way.

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