SUPER LEAGUE expert Kaine Greenwood (@RetroPress) delivers his verdict on Friday night’s contest between Hull FC and Huddersfield.
Hull FC v Huddersfield Giants | Friday 20.00
When things take a wrong turn or don't go to plan we often try anything in our powers to turn things around. I'm sure this is exactly what the Huddersfield Giants are looking to do and, to this end, will travel to Hull and back.
They'll have the devilish task of finding a remedy to a four-game losing streak.
Paul Anderson is undoubtedly under the greatest pressure he has faced while at the helm of the Giants as his side sit rock bottom of the standings after nine rounds and rumours circulating that star half Danny Brough may re-join the hosting Airlie Birds in the near future.
The coach, affectionately known as ‘Baloo' throughout the game, has been more versed in the ‘Jumble Book' than the Kipling novel in recent weeks with just one victory coming to this point.
Hull, in contrast, appear to have turned a slight corner in just over the first third of the season – sitting fifth in the table – after notable victories over Catalans, Warrington and St. Helens have helped them to a W6-L3 return.
Recent form has Lee Radford and co. heading into this fixture with the knowledge a victory would see them extend to a 70% start and bring up five consecutive wins for the first time since May 2013.
On the face of it is no surprise that the home side are a six-point favourite for this tie and yet I'm still convinced the away side are the ones to side with two or three times over.
Huddersfield under Anderson have displayed the most consistent form of any Super League side in winning 66% of fixtures up until the start of 2016. This is table-topping success!
Over the 77 regular season fixtures between 2013-15 they amassed 107 points from 154 – leading the next-best club (Wigan) by four points.
Considering the form of Anderson's chargers over the previous three campaigns their position as it stands can be considered slightly false and yet not all that unusual – over the first 10 matches of 2015 they lost six ties, while recording a W4-D2-L4 record in 2014.
Of the 29 league defeats suffered by the Giants since '13 nearly 45% have been through the first 10 rounds of competition – they usually start slow and then burn red-hot.
I don't think we would be asking too much to see this upturn a round or two early.
The HD1 club have even added recruits in Ryan Brierley and Gene Ormsby to try and kick-start wins. I would say their main problems lie in defence however and conceding less than the high 20-30+ points of late is the main concern for me.
In the eight head-to-head games since 2013 the West Yorkshire side hold a W6-L2 record over FC and have triumphed on every single outing by at least six points.
Also the Black and White's sit with a losing W10-D1-L21 record (excl. cup games) versus Leeds, St. Helens, Wigan and Warrington over the same period. This is another slight indication that the more consistent sides usually find away past Hull efforts.
Overall, I have enough confidence in the quality of the Giants to believe that quotes of 9/4 (Stan James) to win this match-up provide great value and that, despite recent form, they still house many of the personnel that have produced over a significant period to do so again.
How easily a victory comes is questionable when noting that the hosts have a run in flow but I'm prepared to overlook this considering past fixtures and I wouldn't put anybody off siding heavily with Anderson's men as they're out for a season-changing performance.
Everything stands on the shoulders of Giants here, especially the stats.
Hull FC v Huddersfield Giants – Huddersfield Giants to win (9/4 Stan James)
Hull FC v Huddersfield Giants – Huddersfield Giants -3.5 handicap (3/1 Paddy Power)
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