Wakefield fans could be forgiven for forgetting Trinity’s success’ in the Challenge Cup in the 1960’s after just one semi-final in 37 years however their 16-28 victory over Huddersfield means they will once again compete in the final four of the prestigious tournament.
New arrival David Fifita was the star-man for Trinity scoring a double which could have been a hat-trick had the ball not hit referee Gareth Hewer.
Wingers Ben Jones-Bishop and Tom Johnstone scored either side of half time with Johnstone again demonstrating his blistering pace with a breakaway interception try. Liam Finn sunk three conversions and three penalty goals to help keep Chris Chester’s side in control throughout.
Huddersfield would have been thinking their season couldn’t get any more difficult however the death of academy player Ronan Costello, Paul Anderson’s dismissal and an exit from the Challenge Cup to the hands of Wakefield have led to the lowest point of the Giants season thus far.
Scott Grix, Jake Connor and Jermaine McGillvary all crossed for the home side but they never really came close to Wakefield throughout and a ten minute spell without influential playmaker Danny Brough in the first half after a high shot on Reece Lyne didn’t help the Giants cause.
After receiving a sin-bin on his Wakefield debut last weekend versus Leeds Fifita made his second game more memorable inside the first two minutes. Following Ukuma Ta’ai’s knock-on from the kick-off the Wildcats took the lead when their new man spun through the defenders and over the line.
The Wildcats maintained their quick start with Johnstone coming close but failing to collect Jacob Miller’s chip over-the-top on a free play but Finn did extend the visitors lead with a penalty goal.
Lyne was next to trouble the Giants line breaking from deep and regaining his feet following an ankle tap but the centre was then hit with a high tackle by Brough which saw the Giants half-back sent to the sin-bin.
Wakefield soon utilised their man advantage creating an overlap which allowed Jones-Bishop to dive and plant the ball down in the corner despite the best efforts of Connor. Finn failed to convert but did add a second penalty goal shortly after a long-range Fifita break.
Trinity were on the ascendency in the first twenty minutes but the Giants begun to control the game in the latter stages of the first half. McGillvary managed to dislodge the ball in collision with Matty Ashurst and Grix was quickest to react racing fifty metres to score even with Tom Johnstone coming close to holding the Giants full-back up.
The re-introduction of Brough added even more incentive to the Huddersfield attack and it was Brough’s clever offload that gave Connor the opportunity to level the scores between himself and Jones-Bishop by diving over in the corner. Huddersfield forced three goal line dropouts and Connor was denied by video referee Ben Thaler in the final minute of the half meaning they couldn’t narrow the deficit further.
Wakefield matched their lightning start to the game in the second half when Johnstone snatched Grix’s looping pass from the air and sprinted eighty metres, leaving Michael Lawrence behind, to extend the visitors lead. Fifita was denied a second try shortly after when Miller’s kick deflected off referee Hewer under the Giants posts.
However Fifita, who had failed to score in three NRL seasons, notched a second try just a few moments later when he hit Finn’s inside ball at pace and powered his way over Grix. Huddersfield responded immediately though with some quick hands through the backs which eventually found McGillvary who scored with ease.
Finn sunk another penalty goal with just under fifteen minutes remaining which confirmed Wakefield’s spot in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup. McGillvary managed to get over for a second try in the dying stages but couldn’t prevent Huddersfield’s departure from the 2016 Challenge Cup.
Giants: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Connor; Brough, Ellis; Crabtree, Hinchcliffe, Rapira, Symonds, Ta’ai, Lawrence.
Interchanges: Murphy, Wood, Johnson, Mason.
Wildcats: Jowitt, Johnstone, Lyne, Tupou, Jones-Bishop; Miller, Finn; Fifita, Moore, England, Molloy, Ashurst, Sio.
Interchanges: Arona, Anderson, Annakin, Walton.
Referee: Gareth Hewer. Touch Judges: C. Kendall & M. Woodhead.