HUDDERSFIELD Giants have had some pretty bad moments in Super League XVI.
But this pitiful display against a struggling Bradford Bulls was arguably the lowest yet as they were ‘nilled’ for the first time since a 48-0 thrashing at Catalan Dragons three years ago.
For the side tipped by so many to finish in the top three to play as badly as this was almost impossible to stomach.
It’s one thing being out-played, out-muscled and out-enthused at leaders Wigan and second-placed Warrington – as has been the case in the past month – but it’s another thing to suffer the same fate against a Bulls side who are expected to miss out on the play-offs for a third successive season.
It goes without saying that Huddersfield don’t like playing in the wet – just look at the way they played in heavy rain at another struggling side, Wakefield, the other month – while Bradford’s best performances and results have come when it’s been pouring it down.
But that can’t be used to disguise this poor excuse of a performance.
They were desperate in the first half and hardly any better in the second as they produced a display that was arguably far worse than the one they put in when they lost 32-6 at second-bottom Crusaders on Good Friday.
Hosts Bradford had the advantage of the driving wind and rain in the opening half and definitely made the most of it.
With the Giants struggling to get out of their own half it was virtually all one-way traffic.
Apart from on one solitary occasion when Larne Patrick lost the ball over the line attempting to touch down after a powerful run, the Giants were never in the contest, with a 22-0 scoreline a clear reflection of the balance of power.
On almost every occasion Huddersfield coughed up possession – something they did with monotonous regularity – their hosts made them pay a heavy price.
They were first punished for that after 10 minutes when it was already clear it could be one of those days.
After twice being penalised on their own line, the pressure on the Giants were eventually punished as Ben Jeffries sliced through from 10m for Patrick Ah Van to add the extras.
At that stage it was hardly the end of the world.
But as the half progressed it just kept on getting worse and worse.
After David Hodgson had been taken into touch by Ah Van after collecting Jeffries smart kick to the corner, the position was created straight from the subsequent scrum for Paul Sykes to score down the blindside far too easily.
Ah Van failed to convert, but made no mistake on the half hour as the Bulls deservedly extended their advantage.
After Jermaine McGillvary spilled the ball attempting to run the ball out from inside his own 20 and then both referee and touchjudge failed to give a Bradford knock-on, the Bulls immediately took full advantage by finding Sykes to .charge over for his second.
And on the stroke of half-time, Huddersfield’s half was summed up as Grix’s attempted relieving kick was charged down by Michael Platt who simply collected the loose ball and strolled over.
The opening second-half exchanges suggested the Giants may be capable of mounting a stirring fightback as Luke Robinson's successful 40-20 put his side straight onto the attack.
But after Joe Wardle’s ‘try’ was ruled out for crossing from the subsequent scrum, the second period began to mirror the first, with the Giants spilling the ball time after time after time.
As a result, Ah Van landed two straight-forward penalties to settle any remaining Bradford nerves by making it 26-0 after an hour, and it was already game, set and match.
Yet that was far from the end of the Giants’ misery.
In the 64th minute, Eorl Crabtree was sent to the sin-bin after referee James Child had just issued his side a final warning for lying on and moments later Ah Van finished off a sweeping move in the corner.
And five minutes later, Bradford launched a similar attack down the left for Brett Kearney to finish off by the corner flag for Sykes to land an excellent touchline conversion.
A horrible, horrible day was complete.