HAPLESS Huddersfield Giants suffered a massive play-off stage fright to suffer an embarrassing season’s climax at Hull FC.
The woeful performance couldn’t have been in starker contest to the events of the previous week when coach Paul Anderson’s men destroyed World Club Champions Leeds Rhinos – with just 12 men.
Everything that was good against Leeds was bad against Hull and meant a campaign that had started so encouragingly ended on a real low.
This was a night to forget.
The Giants named the same 17 that had thrashed Leeds Rhinos at home the week before.
However, unlike seven days before, they made a shaky start, despite some strong early runs from inside his own half by David Fa’alogo.
Hull struck for the first time after eight minutes when, from a relatively straight-forward scrum move, the ball was worked to the right for Tom Briscoe to power in at the corner, with Jamie Foster landing an excellent touchline conversion.
Back-to-back penalties then cost the Giants dear as Briscoe showed great skill to finish in the corner, despite the best efforts of the excellent Eorl Crabtree.
This time, Foster failed to add the extras, but it was 10-0 after 12 minutes.
It could have been even worse six minutes later when Foster crossed in the corner – on the back of a break from former Giant Martin Aspinwall – but the pass he received from Jordan Turner was ruled forward.
Too many basic errors at crucial times prevented the Giants from clawing back the deficit.
And eight minutes before the break, the visitors were handed another let-off when the video referee ruled Joe Westerman had knocked-on under a challenge by Larne Patrick before Danny Houghton followed up to touch down.
A Foster penalty on the stroke of half-time made it 12-0 to the hosts and it was no more than they deserved after completely dominating the opening 40 minutes.
It got even worse a minute after the restart when the ball was shifted out wide deep inside Hull’s own half for Turner to scorch clear and feed Foster to finish in the corner.
More swift hands, this time close to the Giants line, brought Foster a second stroll-in in the 50th minute and the game was already slipping well beyond the Giants’ grasp, particularly with Foster adding another excellent touchline goal to extend the advantage to 22-0.
A Houghton 40-20 then created the position for Liam Watts to power over just before hour mark.
More misery followed as a perfect Hull bounce enabled Aaron Heremaia to stroll through unopposed.
The Huddersfield faithful finally had something to smile about with 14 minutes remaining when he collected 40m out and showed great pace to charge over for a thoroughly-deserved score, which Scott Grix – in the absence of the withdrawn Danny Brough – failed to convert.
And there was even more to shout about three minutes later when Luke George released Brett Ferres to make good ground and eventually feed the supporting Grix to finish off under the posts and add the extras.
That, however, simply upset the hosts, who responded on their next attack by setting up the opening for Andy Lynch to crash over by the posts.
Try No8 quickly followed when Hull cut through the middle of the Giants’ defence and Richard Horne finished with ease.
It summed it all up!