The magic of the Challenge Cup threw together two Super League sides as the Huddersfield Giants took on the Toronto Wolfpack at the John Smith’s Stadium, despite the Canadian side coming out of the hat first.
Toronto were without Sonny-Bill Williams but coach McDermott did give first games of the season to Darcy Lussick and Chase Stanley as they were welcomed back from injury. The Giants recalled Suaia Matagi but were without Ukuma Ta’ai and Gaskell.
The Giants, with home advantage, and against a side who’d yet to register a win in 2020, were massive favourites with the bookies to make progress into the next round.
Toronto shocked the home side when the took the lead after just three minutes when Ricky Leutele crossed the line through some poor Giants defence. Gareth O’Brien added the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
Leutele got his second on ten minutes when he collected a Josh McCrone pinpoint kick through to score under the sticks. O’Brien was accurate with the boot and the Giants were rocked.
An O’Brien penalty on twenty-five minutes, after the Giants held down in the tackle, extended the lead to three scores. The Giants were already up against it in a game that they were expected to win comfortably.
A second O’Brien Penalty Goal, with two minutes of the half remaining gave the Wolfpack a 16-0 lead at the turnaround.
The Giants were much improved in the second half but couldn’t find their way through a determined Toronto defence. After the Giants held on too long in the ruck on sixty-three minutes, O’Brien kicked a third penalty for an 18-0 lead with sixteen minutes left.
In torrential rain, O’Brien hit the upright with a penalty kick as they tried to run the clock down.
Just the two points in the second half suited the Wolfpack as they kept the Giants scoreless over the full eighty with a performance that will delight their coach Brian McDermott.
Toronto make progress in the Challenge Cup by taking the prozed scalp of the Huddersfield Giants. Tonights performance, in difficult conditions, was a world apart from the way they p[layed last Thursday when they were annihilated by the Leeds Rhinos. Josh McCrone bossed the middle of the field and a stalwart Toronto defence neutralised any attacking efforts which the home side could muster. The Wolfpack will look to use this as a boost for their Super League season, the Giants will want to forget about it as quickly as they possibly can.
Giants: McIntosh, McGillvary, Wardle, Turner, Wood, Russell, Sezer, Matagi, Holmes, Gavet, Edwards, Murphy, Clough. Subs: O’Brien, Lawrence, Hewitt, Wilson.
Wolfpack: O’Brien (4G), Kay, Stanley, Leutele (2T), Miloudi, Mellor, McCrone, Sidlow, Ackers, Springer, Olbison, Thompson, Dixon. Subs: Mullally, Lussick, Wallace, Gigot.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.
Attendance: Not Many.