By Ellie Indie

Lois Naidole was named Player of the Match as Huddersfield Giants Women kicked off their 2024 season countdown with a 30-8 victory over Barrow Raiders at Laund Hill.

Head coach Lori Halloran selected a fresh new line-up containing six unofficial debutants in her pre-season challenge against Amanda Wilkinson’s Barrow Raiders.

The Giants were on the attack from the word go. Sam Hulme set her side up beautifully with a pressure-applying kick that allowed some serious yardage gain.

It didn’t take long for second-rower turned centre Ana Da Silva to breach the Barrow defence for the first 4-pointer of the game. Frankie Townend’s boot from the sideline converted the try to put the Giants in the lead just four minutes in.

A scrappy set of play proceeded from both ends of the pitch, the referee routinely picking up on the unsquare Barrow markers and the Giants’ incorrect play of the ball.

Naidole capitalised on an exposed gap down the edge and made a 70-metre sprint to ensure her efforts were rewarded. An easy conversion for Townend, allowing for a 12-point lead going into the first ‘quarter.’

What comes around goes around and Raiders’ winger Alice Rush pounced down the right edge for the Cumbrians’ first try of the game. Jodie Litherland was unable to convert.

Just shy of half-time, skipper Bethan Oates added her name to the scoresheet in good style. Townend’s ever-reliable boot rounded off the half 18-4.

Paige Webster scored her first try since returning to rugby league, with returning Giant Chloe Fairbank crossing the line set up by a perfect Hulme kick.

Both were topped nicely by Frankie’s fine kick, which would be the final point-worthy action on a claret and gold front.

Claire Hutchinson grabbed a consolation try for the visitors, unconverted, settling scores 30-8.

Naidole was named Player of the Match after an impactful appearance at centre.

Giants Women: Amy Bennett, Allana Waller, Ana Da Silva, Lois Naidole, Becky Grady, Frankie Townend, Sam Hulme, Paige Webster, Bethan Oates, Chloe Fairbank, Jess Harrap, Kacy Haley, Katy Fisher. Subs: Megan Preston, Beth Armstrong, Georgia Hampshaw, Lauren Waller, Ellie Thompson.

Image by: Andrew Hampshaw