Rugby League - Anderson leaps to defence of Wardle

Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson defended centre Joe Wardle over his dismissal for punching in the Tetley's Challenge Cup win over Leeds, describing it as "a career-defining moment".

PA Sport
Rugby League - Anderson leaps to defence of Wardle

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Joe Wardle was sent off for punching Carl Ablett

Wardle, 21, paid the price for a rush of blood as he delivered a series of punches towards Leeds centre Carl Ablett, leaving referee Phil Bentham with no alternative but to brandish a red card.

"We might have to play with 12 more often," Anderson told the post-match press conference at the John Smith's Stadium. "I've not looked at it but, if he's punched him, he's probably got what he deserves. I'm happy for him. It's a real defining moment in Joe Wardle's career. People go out and niggle and he's stood up to it."

He added: "I'm not happy with the sending-off but he's grown up a bit today."

It is the second time in a month that Huddersfield have overcome a sending-off to secure a notable victory.

They had Luke Robinson dismissed 26 minutes from the end of their Super League game against Catalan Dragons in Perpignan a fortnight ago but came from behind to win.

It is also the third time in recent years the Giants have won with 12 men against Leeds, whose coach Brian McDermott believes the Wardle dismissal probably worked against his side.

"It just shows you can get a bloke sent off and teams bar up," said McDermott, whose side also won in Perpignan this year with 12 men.

"I actually felt it was going to work in their favour. I think 12 men can defend a tryline for 20 or 25 minutes."

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