Match Report – Hull 22 – 10 Huddersfield
Former Huddersfield captain Brett Hodgson made a winning start as a head coach when his Hull team comfortably got the better of his old club in the opening round of the Betfred Super League.
The Black and Whites never looked back after Jake Connor and Josh Griffin both ran in tries against their old club inside the first quarter to put them on their way to a 22-10 victory in a defence-dominated clash at Headingley.
The architect of Hull’s success was new signing Josh Reynolds, whose eagerly-anticipated duel with fellow countryman Aiden Sezer never materialised after the Giants skipper was ruled out through injury.
While Reynolds marked his debut with Hull’s only try of the second half, Huddersfield sorely missed the creativity of Sezer, who was favourite to win the Steve Prescott Man of Steel after impressing in his first season in Super League in 2020.
It was a disappointing start for new coach Ian Watson, whose arrival at the John Smith’s Stadium along with a raft of new signings, has raised expectations.
Former Toronto centre Ricky Leutele, one of six new signings on debut, and prop James Gavet scored second-half tries but only after they had trailed 22-0.
Not for the first time, Connor showed his old club what they are missing.
Revelling in his new full-back role, he used his support players as a foil to dummy his way over for the opening score before providing the final pass for Griffin to celebrate his 100th appearance for the club after Ligi Sau had stolen the ball from Leroy Cudjoe.
Job done for @hullfcofficial ✅ #SuperLeague #SLHulHud pic.twitter.com/iMkG3sQovM
Captain Marc Sneyd kicked both conversions, one of them from the touchline, to make it 12-0, a lead they protected up to half-time with some tremendous defence.
Former Wigan second rower Joe Greenwood was held up over the line after half-an-hour but the Giants lacked a cutting edge in attack in the absence of Sezer.
Sneyd put three scores between the teams with a penalty early in the second half after the Giants were caught offside and Hull turned up the pressure by forcing three goal-line drop-outs.
Huddersfield forward Kenny Edwards was sin-binned for obstructing Reynolds in pursuit of a kick to the line and winger Darnell McIntosh saved a try by stealing the ball from Mahe Fonua as the Hull man reached the line.
The Giants persevered and scrum-half Oliver Russell, who came in to replace Sezer, produced a half-break only to spoil the final pass and Reynolds put the result beyond doubt on the hour when he won the race to Sneyd’s grubber kick to the line.
Sneyd kicked his fourth conversion and added another penalty to stretch his side’s lead to 22-0 before the Giants rallied.
Leutele scored his first Super League try and Gavet also took advantage of a rare defensive lapse, with Russell kicking a conversion as Huddersfield put some respectability on the scoreboard.
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