In losing to Wigan last weekend, Huddersfield Giants relinquished their right, as League Leader’s Shield winners, to a home semi-final against hand-picked opposition, but expect them to have too much for Hull in the preliminary semis (priced at 3/10 with Ladbrokes).
The Giants finished at the summit of British rugby league’s top tier for the first time in 81 years this season, a test of endurance from which there is nowhere to hide.
And for the first ten minutes of last week’s play-off against Wigan, it appeared as though Paul Anderson’s men had taken their excellent league form into the post-season.
However, Giants play-makers’ Danny Brough and Shaun Lunt failed to dictate play with as much success as they had during the regular season and the Warriors ran out 22-8 winners.
The aforementioned Lunt, and Brough in particular, have had outstanding seasons, as evidenced by their inclusion in the Super League Dream Team alongside team mates Earl Crabtree, Brett Ferres and Leroy Cudjoe.
And with those five players all available to Anderson (who names an unchanged squad), Huddersfield have enough class to make it three from three against the Black and Whites this term.
The East Yorkshire outfit have not won on Giant’s soil in four matches either, a streak that dates back to March 2009 – another tick in the Huddersfield box.
With a record of five victories and one defeat in all knockout rugby this year, Hull won’t be perturbed by the winner-takes-all format; but a Challenge Cup Final loss and an endurance sapping victory over Catalans will have taken its toll.
Elsewhere in the markets, Brough displayed impressive fleet of foot to open the scoring in last week’s loss to Wigan and the half-back is 18/1 to do the same against Hull. Alternatively, the 30-year-old is a tempting 12/5 to cross the whitewash at anytime.
All Odds and Markets correct at time of publication.