A few reflections.
I enjoyed most of the game at Hudds on Sunday. Leaving aside the smidgeon of controversy, I thought the match was fairly typical of Huddersfield's season so far. There was sterling defence at times and a struggle to achieve fluency in attack. The passing and timing was poor at times, which slowed down the attack; this has been the case for a lot of the games so far. It took the Giants a long time to get going in the first half and the possession and territory stats showed this clearly. Hudds got into the game at the back end of the first half and were certainly in a good position to win going into the last quarter.
Ferres' bizarre dangerous tackle changed the likelihood of a win. Ferres is a senior player and he let the team down and the impact will continue during his suspension and it will add to the disruptions Hudds have already had through injury. It's just as well that he didn't drop Lomax, or ram his head into the pitch; he was lucky that Lomax's arm and shoulder made contact with the ground cushioning the impact. I reckon that a lack of intent argument won't count much in Ferres' defence in the disciplinary compared to the recklessness of the attempted tackle. Wellens and Manu were so incensed by the foul play by Ferres that they ran in and pushed Kopczak. It just shows how emotion can cloud people's views of what has happened. It would help Hudds if we could play tough cup ties at home, without getting a man sent off......
I thought Hudds showed spirit in defence in the last 15 mins but showed little composure when trying for the winning points. Hindsight is 20:20 and all that, but perhaps they should have pressured the Saints line more.
D Brough's kicking has been patchy this season, along with his all round play, certainly compared to last year. All the Hudds players who were in the World Cup haven't looked very sharp so far; it could be coincidence, or just reflective of the form team as a whole I suppose. When I watched the TV coverage of the match late on Sunday there was an interesting comment from D Brough while reflecting on the Giants' stuttering form compared to last season to the effect that last year the Hudds players had a "bond." Perhaps there isn't such a bond this season..... He also seemed to imply that P Anderson's game strategy was pretty basic compared to Nathan Brown's. I may be over interpreting what he said and he is not not most articulate of people and the interview would obviously have been edited but the comments stood out for me.
With regard to Mr Bentham's decision on the disputed attempted drop goal, I disagreed with it but it is hard to call the kicks that are higher than the posts. I see no reason to judge it as other than an honest call on his part. The word is that if he had gone to the video ref about the drop goal, Ian Smith would have handed it back to him,,although I thought the procedure on that had changed:-
I guess that an assessor's report of Mr Bentham's display would be more critical of other areas of his performance rather than his judgement on the drop goal eg his missing the clear offsides in the last ten minutes as Saints defended their line. I can understand why he wouldn't want to give a probably match deciding penalty though.
As for D Brough nattering at Mr Bentham through much of the game, well he needs to stop it. Brough is in danger of whinging as much as D McGuire, or P Wellens. If it carries on we'll be seeing him standing with his hands out appealing on every decision. Brough didn't chelp at refs as much last season. He needs to concentrate on what he can control, rather than indulge in behaviour that is likely to alienate referees. His chat to the ref didn't seem to do any good for Hudds on Sunday.
Phil Bentham is an honourable man.
Saints have some good young players and it was interesting to see them live in action. They were particularly lively at the start of the match. Playing in a tight tense cup game will be good experience for them. Lomax is a fine player and great to watch; he's got real class. He maybe should have got a warning for dangerous contact with L Robinson when he was in the air but Hudds didn't make a fuss about the incident. Walsh had a decent game and no doubt will be sharper after a couple more games. He showed good technique and composure with the touchline conversion, as well as for the drop goal. I thought the Hudds forwards were getting on top in the second half and other teams' coaches will be looking at that in terms of how to handle Saints. The Giants forwards did play better than they have for a while.
All in all it was a cracking cup tie. Hudds were a bit unfortunate to lose. They have a game against Hull on Thursday and that is now more important then last Sunday's game. What odds on D Brough scoring a drop goal? As for the comments about hoping Saints are beaten in the next round because of a bit of controversy on Sunday, well I hope it is a belting game vs Leeds with the better team winning. Saints were not responsible for the decisions some fans and other observers dispute.