Huddersfield Giants bounced back from their play-off loss to Wigan with a stunning 76-18 demolition of Hull FC last week and the Yorkshire outfit represent all the value (9/4) for outright victory in tonight’s winner-takes-all tie against Warrington.
On paper it is easy to see why Tony Smith and his team selected Huddersfield in the Club Call: Not only have they won the last eight of the side’s encounters, the other two options were Leeds and Wigan, teams with a known appetite for the big occasion.
But Club Call has been something of a poisoned chalice in recent years with Warrington and Wigan both unsuccessfully selecting Leeds over the last two seasons. Huddersfield can make it a hat-trick of poor Club Calls.
Hull FC were fancied to run the Giants close last week but they were outclassed from the first whistle. Danny Brough, who deserves to win the Man of Steel, at the heart of all things good.
Brough’s partnership with last weekend’s man-of-the-match Luke Robinson will be instrumental from half-back, especially in terms of dictating tempo and field position, but as usual this one will be won and lost in the forwards.
Eorl Crabtree’s battle up-front with the evergreen Adrian Morley will be colossal and if the towering 18 stone nephew of Shirley “Big Daddy” Crabtree can bulldoze his team over the advantage line, the Yorkshiremen have a real chance.
Cynics will point towards the Giants’ three failures against Wire this season, but it is no fluke that Huddersfield took the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time since 1932.
Furthermore, Brough and Crabtree were joined in the Super League Dream Team alongside club-mates Brett Ferres, Leroy Cudjoe and Shaun Lunt. On the contrary there were no Wolves selected for the side.
Widnes, remember, were given no hope at the Halliwell Jones in August but the Vikings took the points in a deserved 16-6 win, despite only winning twice in 15 games previous.
For those looking for an insurance then Huddersfield (+8) has been priced at even money – an eight point head-start to a side of this quality seems very generous.
All Odds and Markets are correct at time of publication