Ian Watson: Huddersfield Giants head coach feeling good after first Super League win of 2021

Watson’s side had lost the opening four Super League matches of his reign, but got on the board with a nail-biting 14-13 win over Leeds. “It was a sloppy one, a tough one, but a win’s a win,” Watson said.

Last Updated: 02/05/21 6:36pm

Huddersfield’s players embrace Lee Gaskell after his winning kick

Ian Watson was a happy man after a last-gasp drop goal from full-back Lee Gaskell enabled Huddersfield Giants to break their duck in the Betfred Super League.

The Giants secured a nail-biting 14-13 win over Leeds Rhinos after frittering away a 12-4 lead, built on two tries from skipper Aiden Sezer.

They were also were relieved to see Liam Sutcliffe miss three drop-goal attempts before Gaskell found the target, but they probably deserved the victory after having three tries disallowed.

Gaskell drop goal snatches win for Giants

A last-gasp drop goal from Lee Gaskell saw Huddersfield pip Leeds to gain their first Super League win of the year.

“It feels good,” said Huddersfield head coach Watson, who had overseen four straight league defeats at the start of his first season in charge at the John Smith’s Stadium.

“It was a sloppy one, a tough one, but a win’s a win. It was important to get off the mark and get some points on the board.

“I don’t get nervous, I keep my emotion out of it, but when their drop goal bounced in off the crossbar, I thought it was going to be one of those days.

“It was important to come through that because Huddersfield have had a lot of close defeats, especially against Leeds, and to get across the line is a really good sign.

It was a sloppy one, a tough one, but a win’s a win.

Huddersfield head coach Ian Watson

“It probably should have been more comfortable in the end, especially after building an eight-point lead. We needed to manage the game a little bit better from there.

“We’ve still got things to work on. It’s going to be an ongoing process for a while because the players are still getting used to me and I’m still getting used to the players.”

Leeds were missing 10 players through injury and suspension, including dual-code international half-back Kyle Eastmond, but still had chances to win the game, especially through Sutcliffe, who succeeded with just one of his four drop-goal kicks.

Leeds have now lost their last four league games and are out of the Challenge Cup, but head coach Richard Agar is confident with the players to come back they can still have a successful season.

Leeds head coach Richard Agar was missing 10 players for the trip to Huddersfield

Leeds head coach Richard Agar was missing 10 players for the trip to Huddersfield

“I don’t want to be too hard on Liam because I thought he was our best player, I thought he kicked the ball well all afternoon,” said Agar, who was forced to use hooker Kruise Leeming as Sutcliffe’s half-back partner.

“We lost Kyle at team run yesterday, but I thought Kruise did a pretty decent job. I’d defy any team to have 10 players out and play your best rugby but, despite who is and who isn’t on the field, we had enough to win that game.

“I’m disappointed in the way we shot ourselves in the foot. I thought we were in a good position at half-time, but I can’t believe the quality that came out 10 minutes after the break.

“Once we got in front, I thought we could have managed that better. It’s important we keep our nerve because I think there is a really good football team in there.”

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