JUST how do the Huddersfield Giants expect to maintain a Super League XVII title challenge with performances – and results – like this?
Losing at Catalan Dragons and then at home to Wigan is one thing.
But to falter on neutral territory against a lower half side such as Salford is another.
Admittedly, the City Reds played exceptionally well and were full value for their win on their day. They do have quality players for sure.
But questions really do need to be asked about Huddersfield after a day like this. There was certainly nothing ‘magic’ about the Giants’ efforts at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium as part of the Magic Weekend.
It’s possible the shock news of Kevin Brown’s departure to Widnes at the end of the season could have played a part as much as everything else and contributed to this disjointed display.
Yet that obviously can’t be the only reason, of course, with the Giants struggling to respect possession at key times and then producing defensive show that was so much out of character. Well, until the last few weeks that is!
And the signs were certainly ominous from the start.
The out-of-sorts Giants made the shakiest of starts to the contest and were 6-0 down within three minutes as the City Reds kept the ball alive superbly down their left for Joel Moon to finish in the corner and for Daniel Holdworth to land the touchline conversion.
But for the next 15 minutes it was all Huddersfield.
Within three minutes the Giants had struck for the first time when strong approach work, with Danny Brough to the fore, created the opening for Brown to plunge over from acting half-back from 5m, although Brough was unable to add the extras.
Huddersfield should have scored five minutes later, but Joe Wardle’s pass to Luke George went behind the winger and a golden chance had gone begging.
But there was to be no denying them in the 13th minute when Brown released Wardle, who combined with George to send the supporting Brough over under the posts for a converted score to make it 10-6.
At that stage, the Giants looked firmly in the driving seat – although not for long.