HUDDERSFIELD Giants still have some way to go before they can claim to be genuine Super League XVII title contenders.
After leading the top-flight table for so long in the first half of the 2012 campaign, they fell way short when it really mattered against leaders Wigan.
The Warriors may have gone into the contest only ahead of the Giants on points difference, but the gulf was much wider at the Galpharm last night as the Cherry and Whites gained a massive advantage in the race for the League Leaders Shield.
Yes, the final margin of the visitors’ win may have been just 20 points.
Unfortunately, however, that didn’t tell the true story, with Wigan turning the screw with an outstanding second-half display as they turned a narrow 12-6 interval advantage into a convincing 32-12 triumph.
And had it not been for the fact that the Warriors were able to land just two of their seven conversion attempts the margin of their triumph would have been even greater.
The Giants welcomed back Luke George, David Fa’alogo and Scott Moore, with George and Fa’alogo in the thick of the action from the start during a pulsating opening as both sides wasted little time making their intentions clear and creating openings.
On Huddersfield's first attack, Jermaine McGillvary was almost put over by Leroy Cudjoe, while on the Warriors’ first foray they forced a drop-out.
As the game progressed, however, the Giants began to gain the upper hand.
Greg Eden was almost sent clear off a Fa’alogo break and McGillvary was just short in the 10th minute from a long Eden pass.
But five minutes later the home side finally gained their reward when Luke Robinson worked the blindside and fed Cudjoe who sent McGillvary scorching over in the corner for Danny Brough to add the touchline conversion.
That could so easily have been the start of something good for the Giants, but instead Wigan found the perfect response and had hit back within four minutes as Sam Tomkins and Darrell Goulding combined to send Josh Charnley over in the corner.
The winger was unable to add the extras to his score to ensure the hosts kept their noses in front – although not for long.