HUDDERSFIELD’S outstanding away record was sent crashing to the ground as the Giants slumped to a demoralising seven-try defeat at rejuvenated Warrington Wolves.
There was hardly anything in this lack-lustre showing to suggest the Giants were a side who had won their last 10 games on the road, stretching back to July last year.
On attack, they made mistake after mistake to make life incredibly easy for their grateful hosts, who grew in confidence the more the game progressed.
And in defence, the rock-solid wall that had been so evident in the Giants’ charge up to second place in the Super League ladder just a few short weeks ago crumbled in dramatic and decisive fashion.
After the home defeat to Leeds Rhinos eight days before, Huddersfield were desperate to start strongly against the Wolves to get their campaign straight back on track and avoid suffering successive defeats for the first time this term.
But within a minute that hope had been shattered.
On the first tackle of the game, the Giants conceded a penalty, Warrington swept downfield and on the fourth play Matt King crashed over in the corner and Chris Hicks landed the touchline conversion.
It was, unfortunately, a taste of things to come.
Almost immediately from the restart, Huddersfield conceded penalty No2 and moments later Hicks finished off in the opposite corner.
It was 10-0 after just five minutes and the Giants had yet to get their hands on the ball!
In fact, it was a further three minutes before the Giants gained that first much-needed touch.
And 10 minutes later there was the first ray of hope that the tide might start to turn as Danny Kirmond collected a loose ball after Kevin Brown’s ‘bomb’ was fumbled by Paul Johnson and fed the supporting Simon Finnigan to race over.
Brett Hodgson converted, and at 10-6 the Giants appeared to be right back in it.
But that was as close as they got.
Five minutes later – and on the back of another penalty – Warrington were over for a third time as Hicks capitalised on a Michael Monaghan high kick to the corner which was allowed to bounce dangerously before the score came.
Then in the 28th minute, Paul Rauhihi burst through some shoddy tackling on halfway to help set up Hicks once again to complete a first-half hat trick.
The Australian winger was only denied a fourth by a foward-pass call, but he landed a penalty on the stroke of half time to make it 20-6 and leave the Giants with a massive mountain to climb.
For a second time, Huddersfield were given hope, this time at the start of the second half.
An excellent break by the Giants top performer, David Faiumu, put the Wolves on the back foot and moments later Paul Whatuira had taken full advantage to race over for a converted try to make it 20-12.
But yet again, the visitors were unable to build on the score.Related content
By the 53rd minute Warrington were firmly back in the driving seat and on their way to guaranteeing victory would be theirs.
Neat work by Monaghan took him through the narrowest of gaps to make it 26-12 and 10 minutes later Chris Riley raced in at the corner to take his team 18 points clear before Hicks landed the touchline goal to leave the Giants requiring four scores to hit the front.
With five minutes remaining, the visitors did reduce the deficit slightly with an excellently-worked try.
Luke Robinson made it possible, slipping the ball out of the tackle to Scott Moore who made ground before feeding the supporting Brett Hodgson to score under the posts and then add the extras in front of the healthy travelling Giants contingent.
But such was the nature of this bitterly disappointing display that it was no surprise that the Wolves had the final say.
With two minutes left, Robinson chipped over on his own 40m line.
Unfortunately, the ball bounced the wrong way for his advancing teammates and the right way for alert full-back Riley who gladly collected and raced away to score.
Hicks again goaled and on the final hooter landed a penalty to bring up the 40 points and make it a day for the Giants to forget.