Super League: Huddersfield Giants 24-22 Catalans Dragons - hosts win to secure top-flight status
|Betfred Super League|
|Huddersfield (10) 24|
|Tries: Senior 4, McGillvary Goals: Wardle, Gaskell|
|Catalans (14) 22|
|Tries: Tierney 2, Mourgue Goals: Tomkins 5|
Louis Senior scored four tries as Huddersfield beat Catalans Dragons 24-22 to secure their Super League status.
London, who were beaten by Wakefield, are relegated to the Championship.
Senior went over twice for the hosts, as did Lewis Tierney for Catalans, but six points from Sam Tomkins' boot saw the visitors lead 14-10 at half-time.
Arthur Mourgue extended their advantage before 19-year-old Senior scored twice more and Jermaine McGillvary's 74th-minute try won it for the Giants.
Four teams - Wakefield, Huddersfield, Hull KR and London - were in danger of relegation on the final night of the regular season with only two points separating them all.
As it turned out - with bottom club London's defeat - the Giants would have stayed up even with a loss, but there were more than a few nerves around until the hour mark.
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Senior scored two tries in 16 first-half minutes as he finished off a well-worked team move from right to left, before he took advantage after Catalans failed to deal with a Matt Frawley kick.
Tierney twice responded as he scored in the left-hand corner and then finished off a sweeping Catalans counter-attack.
Catalans led by four points at the break and that was extended when Mourgue ran in under the posts.
Despite the game seemingly getting out of the reach of the home side, nerves began to settle when news of Wakefield's third try against London filtered through.
That seemed to relax and spur on the hosts and Senior grabbed a hat-trick and then added a fourth, before McGillvary completed the turnaround with a try in the corner as Huddersfield won at home for the first time since May.
Giants' struggles continue
For Huddersfield to still be involved in a relegation scrap on the final night of the season is a far cry from where they have been over the past decade.
Having been Challenge Cup finalists in 2009, they were League Leaders' Shield winners in 2013, the first of three successive top-three finishes.
But, since 2015, they have been too close to the drop for comfort. They had to contend with The Qualifiers in 2016, missed them by just a point in 2017 and by three points in 2018.
A major adjustment was needed following the pre-season loss of Danny Brough back to Wakefield - and, in his second season in charge, Simon Woolford's side have struggled to put a winning run together.
'A relief the season is over' - reaction
Huddersfield coach Simon Woolford:
"I'm glad we not only stayed up but did it with a win. It would have been a hollow feeling if we had lost.
"It's been a tough year, we started the year with seven or eight (players) missing and finished without eight or nine missing. We've never been able to get any consistency or continuity. It's just a relief the whole season is over to be honest.
"That performance mirrored our season. A couple of the tries were as good as any we've scored while I've been here, but some areas of our game were not so good."
Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara:
"It was a bit of travesty. I thought we controlled the game. I couldn't have asked for more.
"I thought we were great, considering we genuinely had 10 starting players out of our team. The game from the outside probably didn't mean a lot but it meant a whole lot.
"We had a bunch of French kids and Arthur Mourgue in particular did a tremendous job. Robin Brochon didn't know he was playing until the night before we flew and didn't train with us."
Huddersfield: McIntosh, L. Senior, J. Wardle, Murphy, McGillvary, Gaskell, Frawley, Matagi, O'Brien, Clough, Mellor, Ta'ai, Ikahihifo.
Interchanges: Leeming, Kirby, Wilson, Butler.
Catalans Dragons: Tomkins, Brochon, Romano, Jullien, Tierney, Albert, Mourgue, Bousquet, McIlorum, Maria, Bird, Garcia, Baitieri.
Interchanges: Simon, Da Costa, Goudemand, Belmas.
Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL).