There was no two ways about it, this fixture was a must-win. Anything other than a safe win would be a worrying state of affairs for the Giants. 30 minutes into the season we looked unstoppable, but since then we'd developed a habit of starting well and falling apart. But last night, against an admittedly poor Widnes, we held our nerve despite a last-minute fightback and picked up an invaluable two points.
This rainy, windy night was one to forget for Rhys Hanbury. For the third year running, the Widnes fullback had a shocker and found himself incapable of dealing with Broughy's bombs. After slipping over trying to get to the first, he fumbled the second and Hinchcliffe pounced to open the scoring just a few minutes into the game. The Giants, who have struggled to score in recent games, didn't have to wait long for their second. Another high kick from Brough looked certain to bounce dead, but against all odds Hanbury's opposite number Jake Mamo made it to the line in time to touch down, scoring a try so impressive that it caused Phil Clarke to forget the English language
Krisnan Inu had an opportunity to equalise both Giants scores in the first half, but poor decisions kept his side scoreless. After our first effort, a simple pass inside would have seen his teammate through, but he went for glory and knocked on in the process. Following Mamo's try, Inu had a good clean break, turned around to grin at Brough who was trailing behind him, and ran straight into Rankin.
Soon after, poor discipline in the tackle saw Widnes give away a penalty in front of the sticks, and Brough kicked his third of the night. It wasn't long before the tables turned, and with 5 seconds left in the half, the Giants conceded a penalty for offside. Widnes elected to take two as the hooter went and - unbelievably - missed from right in front of the sticks. The teams went in at half time, with Widnes having their 67th scoreless half under Denis Betts (thanks to James Gordon for that stat!)
We've seen several good first halves from the Giants, but you'd forgive me for not being confident going into the second. And things didn't start well at all. We forced a GLDO and Gilmore attempted a short kick. We could have gotten to it no issue, but instead one of our players decided to block the defending runner, resulting in a penalty. Widnes made it to our 20m line, and on the last play, Dickinson floored Mellor well after he'd kicked the ball, giving them a whole new set of six, we were lucky not to concede.
We got things together quickly however, and it wasn't long before Oli Roberts dragged three men over the line and spun around to get his second try of the season.
Things soon got ugly, as an awful looking cannonball tackle from Wellington Albert on McGillvary saw the Papua New Guinean international leave the pitch with a red card. There's a track record of Jerry turning up the intensity after a bad tackle and today was no exception. In the set that followed he nabbed his first of the season.
The red card did kick Widnes into gear however, as Mellor ran clean through to open the scoring for the home side. The stand-off played a vital role in the next try, collecting his own high kick before offloading to Matt Whitley. It almost looked like the Vikings were set to mount a comeback, but they spilled the ball from the Giants' kick off and after holding down in the following tackle, Brough kicked his second penalty of the night. Widnes kicked the ball dead straight after and it looked like game over. With six minutes left in the half Stefan Marsh grabbed a consolation try, but there was still time for another Brough penalty to bring the final score to 16-28
Our weakest point this season has been our attack, with our backs and halfbacks looking uninspiring. There was a big improvements on both counts tonight, Brough's kicking was flawless, and Rankin ran with the ball much better. It was good to see Mamo and McGillvary get over the line too. Our forwards continued to impress, with Roberts and Ikahihifo really standing out
It really doesn't feel like we're utilising our wingers enough, I'd like to see us throw the ball out wide a little more. There was a moment where a quick pass from Gaskell would have guaranteed Jerry his second of the night, but he tried to run it through 4 players to no avail.
There were still some really basic, stupid penalties from the Giants, that's something we'll need to work on. And given the mistakes that Widnes were serving up, a few more points would have been nice. But after the last two games, it was just good to see a win.
While Broughy's kicking was in top form, Widnes didn't do a lot to stop him. We regularly got to our last tackle and Danny found himself under no pressure, and all the time in the world to put us through. The home side's biggest issue was their 19 errors. They found themselves unable to complete sets, with knock on after knock on.
The final word
It was a good win for us, but we need to carry on next week and get an even better result against struggling Hull KR. We should be using these games as stepping stones to better form, as our next two opponents - Wigan and Leeds - won't go down so easily.