IT was a tale of three props as the Giants battled their way to a hard-earned victory over Catalan Dragons and book their place in the draw for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.
Starting front-rowers Eorl Crabtree and Darrell Griffin worked tirelessly throughout two highly-effective spells, while Keith Mason returned to action following a two-month injury lay-off with a typically blockbusting show.
When Mason suffered cruciate ligament damage two months ago, he was expected to be sidelined for at least 12 weeks.
But he was immediately back to his best a month ahead of schedule to carry on Crabtree and Griffin’s initial good work.
But it was in the final 10 minutes when the England Four Nations duo really came into their own.
With 10 minutes remaining and the Dragons still very much in the hunt at 18-16, Griffin collected close to the line and powered over through a pile of bodies to touch down for Danny Brough to convert.
Then five minutes later, Crabtree broke clear on halfway before feeding the supporting Kevin Brown to finish off in style and finally make the game safe.
It was a great end to what (up until the closing stages) had been a difficult afternoon.
The heavy gusts of wind made the contest a bit of a lottery, which was reflected throughout a generally scrappy contest.
Within a minute, the visitors were struggling to deal with a Danny Brough ‘bomb’ in the high winds, and on the Dragons’ first set of six, a pass caught an untimely gust and went straight into touch.
As a result, it was no great surprise when the hosts took the lead after just four minutes as Catalan found it almost impossible to adapt to the conditions.
With the Giants pressing, Luke Robinson worked the position to the right and found Leroy Cudjoe, who fed Jermaine McGillvary to juggle the ball before crossing in the corner.
Not surprisingly, Brough was unable to add the conversion in the heavy wind.
But rather than making the most of their dream start in which Brough unleashed an unbelievable ninth-minute 40-20, it was the men from Perpignan who began to take a firm grip on the contest.
After a magnificent deep Scott Grix kick which forced the Dragons to drop-out from under their own posts, a mix-up between Brown and Larne Patrick gave Catalan possession.
For five tackles, the Giants line held out, but hooker Ian Henderson was on hand to crash over by the posts on the last for Scott Dureau to goal, and the visitors had the lead in the 18th minute.