THE Giants’ Wembley dream died as, for the second game running, they failed to do the simple things right.
While Warrington played almost error-free rugby, too much spilled possession and an inability to stretch their rivals saw Huddersfield fall at the semi-final hurdle in the Carnegie Challenge Cup at the City of Salford Stadium.
The suspense before kick-off was heightened in the stadium as a 15-minute delay was announced as the BBC decided to show a preference for golf and put back the kick-off to suit their schedules.
Giants head coach Nathan Brown certainly rang the changes after the heavy 52-6 Super League defeat at Castleford, with four players coming in and a number of positional changes.
Losing their berths in the team were full-back Greg Eden, injured Aussie second rower Luke O’Donnell, pack partner Jason Chan – a regular all season – and winger Luke George, who suffered concussion at the Probiz Coliseum.
That brought a shuffle that pushed Scott Grix into full-back, Jermaine McGillvary returned after a long injury absence due to a torn chest muscle on the wing, skipper Kevin Brown reverted to stand off from loose forward and Danny Brough started at scrum half, while Lee Gilmour moved from the pack to the centre as Eorl Crabtree returned to the side.
The Wolves were boosted by the appearance in the starting line-up of skipper Lee Briers, who had been rested from their 15-6 Super League win over Catalan Dragons with an Achilles tendon strain, while second rower Trent Waterhouse had recovered sufficiently from an eye wound sustained in the game against the French outfit.
The prize was to ensure the first all-Yorkshire Challenge Cup final since 2005 – when Hull FC defeated Leeds – and an even more rare meeting an all West Yorkshire final – the last being Featherstone Rovers victory over Bradford Northern in 1973.
But what the Giants really needed was to be as fast out of the blocks as the Rhinos had been 24 hours earlier when the power of their early charge proved enough to put out the holders Wigan Warriors.
However, they looked hesitant for the first five minutes and escaped narrowly when winger Aaron Murphy managed to take the ball from a Briers angled kick to the corner, even though Joel Monaghan had initially looked favourite to win it.
A superb 40-20 kick from Brough settled the nerves for the Giants a little and they used that position well to register the game’s first try.