There's an old adage that says the sign of a good team is one that can win even when it’s not playing well.
If that’s the case, then Huddersfield Giants must be one of the greatest teams ever!
Even though they failed to fire on all cylinders, coach Paul Anderson’s men still ran riot against a Catalan Dragons side right at the heart of the Super League play-off race.
It was the first time since scoring 60 against Widnes on Easter Monday , that the Giants had reached that mark.
But given the way the French have played this season, this result has far greater significance, particularly when taking into account leaders Wigan’s shock 18-4 home defeat to Castleford the Giants are now just one point behind with a trip to Wigan to come.
The first half may not have been the greatest in the world, but it did at least enable the Giants to take a 24-12 lead – albeit after a shaky defensive effort from both sides.
In fact, poor defence and basic errors were the tale of the opening 40 minutes, with all three of the Dragons’ tries coming on the back of Huddersfield mistakes.
Within four minutes it was clear this game might not be a classic as the French conceded three silly penalties and Brett Ferres took full advantage by crashing out of a half-hearted tackle to power over.
Danny Brough added the conversion, but it failed to provide the Giants with any sort of platform.
Just seven minutes later after a Michael Lawrence knock-on, Scott Dureau’s ‘bomb’ was plucked out of the air for Vincent Duport to score with ease to make it 6-4.
But such was the non-existent intensity of the contest that it was no surprise when Aaron Murphy replied almost immediately when Brough’s kick-off was allowed to bounce into touch and the winger scored on the subsequent play.
Again, the Giants gifted the Dragons a way back in when Scott Grix dropped a high ball and from the subsequent set, Frederic Vaccari powered in at the corner.
At 10-8 after 12 minutes, it was clear the score could finish up as anything!
Midway through the half, the Giants extended their lead when Brough’s kick-through enabled Ferres to pounce for his second, with Brough’s second goal making it 16-8.
More slack Giants defence – this time after Jermaine McGillvary had failed to deal with a ‘bomb’ – allowed Damian Blanch to score with ease down the blindside.
But on the half-hour McGillvary atoned for his earlier error by intercepting Leon Pryce’s pass on halfway and just beating Steve Menzies to the line.
Brough added the extras and then banged over a penalty on the stroke of half-time, with the visitors down to 12 men at the time following Dureau’s 36th-minute sin-binning for preventing Grix taking a quick 20 metre tap restart.
The Giants survived an early second-half scare when video referee Steve Ganson ruled out an effort for Duport, but Mr Ganson was far kinder to the hosts as he saw no obstruction or knock-on in the build-up to Luke George’s try after good work from Ferres – Brough’s goal made it 30-12.
Yet such was the nature of this unmemorable game that it was no great surprise to anyone when Zeb Taai scored with ease from close range, with new goal kicker Thomas Bosc having as little success as Dureau earlier on by missing the conversion.
Huddersfield again wasted little time responding, with Dale Ferguson’s cracking break setting up the supporting Shaun Lunt to finish under the posts.
Another quality try followed in the 64th minute when Brough and Larne Patrick combined to send Ferres over for his hat trick.
Great work in defence from Brough denied Morgane Escare a try in the corner with 10 minutes remaining, and moments later, McGillvary was scoring his second try down the other end after pouncing on Luke Robinson’s kick to the corner – Brough again added the conversion and landed his 10th two minutes later when Lunt showed great speed to split the Dragons open and fed the supporting Cudjoe to score by the posts, and round off an emphatic triumph.
It may have started slowly, but boy did it hot up!
Super League leaders Wigan Warriors were stunningly beaten 18-4 at home by Castleford Tigers.
A try and goal from Kirk Dixon put the visitors into an early lead, and Dixon was on target again after Grant Millington crossed to extend the Tigers lead.
In the second half James Clare went over for the Tigers and Dixon added a goal and, despite a Josh Charnley try, Wigan failed to stage a recovery.
St Helens also lost at home defeated 24-12 by Hull KR.
The Robins made a strong start with tries from Alex Burns, Travis Brown and Greg Eden, plus two Michael Dobson goals.
In the second half Dobson took his goal tally to six, keeping the visitors ahead despite tries from Francis Meli and Anthony Laffranchi and goals from Gareth O’Brien and Thomas Makinson.
Second rower Jacob Fairbank, who has joined the London Broncos on loan from Huddersfield, is set to make his home debut tonight against Salford City Reds at the Stoop, while new signings Jamie Soward and Ryan Shaw are expected to make their first appearances in Super League.