St Helens 4 Huddersfield 40

Tony Puletua is stopped in his tracks by Eorl Crabtree
Tony Puletua is stopped in his tracks by Eorl Crabtree

HUDDERSFIELD made it a miserable start at Langtree Park for former coach Nathan Brown with their first away win over St Helens for 35 years.

The Giants, who won at Wigan 12 months ago, pulled off another stunning opening-round victory to give Brown’s successor Paul Anderson a dream start to his first full season in charge.

Huddersfield’s seven-try rout also marked a tremendous start for new captain Danny Brough, whose superb tactical kicking kept Saints pinned inside their own half for most of the first half to create the position for his side to outplay their hosts.

New forward signings Stuart Fielden and Craig Kopczak helped lay a solid platform for the visitors while hooker Shaun Lunt made a tryscoring return from his loan spell at champions Leeds.

The Giants, whose magnificent defence kept Saints tryless until five minutes from the end, never looked back after scoring two tries in the first 10 minutes.

Winger Jermaine McGillvary produced a devastating finish after Luke O’Donnell had pounced on the first of a series of handling errors from debutant Willie Manu 30 metres from his own line.

Brough then put the impressive Brett Ferres through a yawning gap in the St Helens defence for a second try and kicked both conversions to make it 12-0.

Brough extended his side’s lead with a couple of penalties and struck the woodwork with another attempt while England centre Leroy Cudjoe added a third try nine minutes before the break after a scintillating handling move.

Brough initiated the move with an offload in the middle of the field but the decisive moment came with a superb flick-on by full-back Scott Grix which created the space out wide.

Already 22-0 up at the break, there was no way back for Saints when left winger Luke George gratefully accepted Brough’s long pass to cross unopposed for Huddersfield’s fourth try five minutes into the second half.

Brough went off shortly afterwards after picking up an injury but his side were firmly in control by then.

Brown responded to the crisis by sending on former New Zealand international Lance Hohaia at stand-off for the disappointing Lee Gaskell but one of his first acts was to gift the next try to Huddersfield substitute Larne Patrick.

Second rower Jason Chan broke through the Saints line and, after he had kicked ahead, Hohaia tried to palm the ball dead only to watch it drop into the hands of Patrick.

Grix added the goal and it got even better for the visitors when hooker Shaun Lunt scored a sixth try straight from a scrum 20 metres out.

Cudjoe then scored his second try after St Helens stalwart Francis Meli, on a forgettable 200th appearance for the club, lost the ball in Luke Robinson’s tackle 20 metres out from his own line.

Huddersfield’s victory margin would have been even greater had Grix been able to kick more than one of his four conversion attempts while Saints grabbed a late consolation try through Mark Flanagan.