Paul Cooke: Battle between Hull's Holdsworth and Huddersfield's Brough is key
HULL'S trip to league-leaders Huddersfield tomorrow brings up a truly mouth-watering clash as Daniel Holdsworth goes head-to-head with Danny Brough.
The impact of Holdsworth on the Hull FC side has been laid bare in the past two weeks, as the Black and Whites were awful without him at Widnes and then excellent with him in a 52-0 rout of Castleford last Friday.
Without doubt, if Hull are to be the top-four side the owner wants, they need their number six on the field and playing as much as possible.
And his clash with Brough tomorrow will be a true battle of the smart men.
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In Brough, the Giants have a real match winner.
You only have to watch the highlights of their victory over Leeds last weekend to see why he is the most important player in their team.
The mere fact the only loss the Giants have suffered this season, to Bradford, came with Brough sitting in the stands, says it all.
There is no doubt that Hull will be hoping Holdsworth can be the difference in these big games, exactly the kind they've lost in previous seasons.
Just who will control the game best? Who will guide his team around the pitch best?
Who will kick better? Who will lead their team to victory?
I can't wait to see the outcome of this intriguing battle.
Holdsworth should see tomorrow's clash as an opportunity to really stamp his mark on this FC team and come out on top against a top quality play-maker.
There's no doubt it is a huge test for both Holdsworth and the Hull FC team and, while the battle of the halves promises to be quality, the game will be won by the battle of the big men in the middle.
It's an area the Giants have recruited heavily in by signing Craig Kopczak, Ukama Ta'ai and Stuart Fielden.
They have, without a doubt, made a major difference and brought a dominance to games for the Giants. The FC pack have a big job on to contain and overcome a big, physical pack.
The Giants bring a huge presence onto the field, they are well coached, well drilled and have begun the season in great form.
Thankfully, Hull have plenty of positives to focus on after last week's win over the Tigers.
I know a few key players will be missing, but another huge plus last week for coach Peter Gentle was the return of prop Liam Watts, as he gives the pack a new dimension with his ball skills, off-loads and general size in the middle of the park.
Defensively, FC were superb last week.
Keeping any team to nil in Super League is a hell of an achievement, and it all points to a close contest over in West Yorkshire.
These are two quality teams and the result could well be down to a momentary lapse in concentration. Pressuring Brough in every single department of the game is key.
Hull must attack him when they have the ball to tire him, pressure his kicking game at all times and make him play in an uncomfortable way in attack by allowing him no time or space on the ball.
Hull can travel with confidence, but it's a real step up in class they face. Giants, to me, are a team who look very much at ease with each others' styles of play.
I'm tipping a Giants win on home soil, by 10 points, which will no doubt please the Black and Whites, given my tipping track record.