Red-hot Huddersfield Giants produced their best attacking display of the season to destroy Warrington Wolves and take them to the brink of the top eight.
And on the evidence of this display, it’s surely only a matter of time before that hope becomes a reality.
Warrington are clearly a side who are being put through the wringer right now.
But Huddersfield were still irresistible on the day, and could count themselves unlucky that the final margin of their victory wasn’t even bigger then the final 44-4 scoreline.
The Giants were certainly good value for their 14-0 advantage at half-time. They looked hungrier and far more energetic than their visitors, who were clearly lacking in form and confidence.
The fact Huddersfield had not played on the Monday against St Helens because of Town’s Wembley play-off game and Warrington had played host to Salford that day definitely showed. Stone’s side were far more alert.
But they still needed to work hard to build up their interval lead.
It took them just five minutes to open their account when the ball was run on the last tackle for Danny Brough to feed Oli Roberts to crash over from close range.
Brough added the extras and Huddersfield had made the best possible start.
Both teams then struggled to get a stranglehold on the contest until the 25th minute when the home side grabbed their second try on the back of a brilliant Brough 40-20.
From that advanced position, the ball was eventually forced to the right for Kruise Leeming’s blindside pass to put Jermaine McGillvary over in the corner.
Then, nine minutes before the break, the lead was extended.
Ryan Hinchcliffe’s 30m break took him to just short of the posts on the first tackle, and the ball was immediately whipped to the left for Aaron Murphy to finish in the corner.
Good Giants defence was required to force Benjamin Julien to lose the ball over the tryline to prove the Wolves were far from finished.
But at the break, the mood in the home camp was certainly very positive.
The lead was extended almost immediately after the second period got under way, but Brough knocked-on on the line after Kevin Penny had fumbled his ‘bomb’ in the windy conditions.
But there was no denying Paul Clough in the 45th minute as he burst onto Leeming’s reverse pass to charge over for Brough to convert.
Desperate Warrington defence held up McGillvary over the tryline on the Giants next attack, but that just delayed the inevitable as, on the following play, Dale Ferguson’s magnificent offload gave Jordan Turner a walk-in debut score. Brough’s goal had made it 26-0 in the blink of an eye.
And it nearly got better minutes later when Chris Hill spilled the ball on the Giants 20 and Jake Mamo kicked ahead and then collected to finish off, only for the play to be brought back for a ball strip.
From the subsequent set, Warrington then opened their account when Tom Lineham finished acrobatically in the corner.
Fortunately for the hosts, the setback was soon forgotten as great hands sent McGillvary racing down the wing and his pass found the supporting Mamo to race in for a superb converted try.
Try No7 came just four minutes later when Lee Gaskell’s long, looping pass was collected by McGillvary to finish strongly in the corner and Brough landed his fifth conversion of the day.
An obstruction denied Mamo once again in the 68th minute after another great move close to the Warrington line.
However, the hosts did hit the 40-point mark with five minutes remaining when Turner fed Murphy to squeeze in at the corner, with Brough adding the touchline conversion to make it 44-4.
It rounded off a highly memorable day.