IT just goes from bad to worse for the struggling Huddersfield Giants.
A month ago, coach Nathan Brown’s men were riding high at the top of Super League XVII.
Yesterday, they were deservedly beaten by bottom club Widnes Vikings after suffering a fourth successive top-flight reverse.
It was hoped Huddersfield had hit rock bottom with the shock 38-34 Magic Weekend defeat against Salford last Sunday.
But, no, this really took the biscuit.
Apart from a few brief moments, it was absolutely awful, with memories of their 66-6 Galpharm triumph over Widnes three months ago now a very distant memory indeed.
Nathan Brown rang the changes in the wake of the Salford loss – although many of those were forced, with Kevin Brown suspended and David Faiumu and Joe Wardle both carrying knocks.
That meant England centre Leroy Cudjoe moving to loose-forward in place of Brown and Luke George and Michael Lawrence taking over in the centres.
George’s move inside resulted in a switch for Greg Eden to the wing, with Aaron Murphy taking over his full-back role.
There was also a return in the front-row for Lee Gilmour and for fellow front-row forward Larne Patrick on the bench. It was decided to give fit-again Jacob Fairbank another week to prove his fitness after finally being given the all-clear to play following several months on the sidelines with a badly-broken wrist.
But all those changes appeared to unsettle the visitors as they found themselves 16-0 behind after just 11 horrific minutes.
On Widnes’ first attack, after three minutes, they hit the front when Patrick Ah Van crashed over in the corner after Rhys Hanbury had made the initial break.
The winger was unable to add his own conversion, but he made no mistake four minutes later when Joe Mellor grubber-kicked on the sixth tackle for Hanbury to touch down with ease.
A last-ditch Murphy tackle on Hanbury then initially denied the Vikings try No3, but the relief was short-lived as Ben Cross pounced two plays later to collect a Hanbury kick-through which the defence failed to clear.
The introduction of substitutes Scott Moore and David Fa’alogo did help spark up the Giants’ pack, with both men and fellow benchman Keith Mason, who had been introduced earlier after Gilmour picked up an early head knock, creating the opening for Dale Ferguson to crash over for Huddersfield’s first try after 30 minutes. Brough converted, and it was 16-6.
And four minutes later that deficit was reduced to four points.
Only desperate defence denied Brough and Eden scoring from deep, but in the process the Vikings’ Steve Pickersgill was sin-binned for a blatant flop and moments later Fa’alogo took full advantage by charging through a big defensive hole to score under the posts.