Written by John Davidson
Oliver Russell and Luke Yates insist Tui Lolohea is not to blame for Huddersfield’s loss in the Challenge Cup final.
Lolohea missed four of his five kicks at goal in the final, with Wigan winning 16-14. The fullback was handed the kicking tee with Russell recovering from a hamstring injury.
Russell says it is not Lolohea’s fault that the Giants were defeated.
“That’s not the reason why we lost. That’s all I can say,” the halfback said.
“Tui was one of our best players. He’s been great all season and I really enjoy playing with him. He needs to keep his head. It’s not his fault at all.
Russell says he could have potentially handled the goalkicking on Saturday, but it would have been a risk.
“I probably could have done. Maybe,” he admitted.
🟣🟡 From Barrow to Tottenham, you've been the best. The journey didn't end how we wanted but you were there for every step. pic.twitter.com/PE01zy4KJ8
— Huddersfield Giants (@Giantsrl) May 29, 2022
“But I think I’d rather be on the field playing than risking doing my hammy again kicking. As I’m left-footed and all the pressure on my right foot when I’m kicking and that was the one that hurt.
“It wasn’t really worth doing a goal kick from a sideline where I’d be striking the ball harder for me to come off and not be part of the final.”
Huddersfield captain Yates also defended Lolohea.
“The scoreboard is the scoreboard,” Yates said.
“We should be able to score enough tries to put them away. It does hurt that Oliver Russell had his hamstring hurt and he’s our main goalkicker, but we’re not putting any pressure on Tui to bear that loss or anything like that.
“It is what it is, we should be able to come back and keep the pressure on them and win. It was the unlucky bounce of the ball at the end and they score.”