Embarrassed Huddersfield Giants will have to try and reach the Super League Grand Final the hard way after being beaten 57-4 at Wigan Warriors.

But if tonight’s shocking performance at Wigan is anything to go by, their season will come to a woeful conclusion in their home elimination knockout clash either next Thursday or Friday.

The Giants won’t know who their opponents will be until tomorrow.

Yet whoever it is, they’ll be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a Giants side showing ‘form’ like they did tonight.

It was hard to imagine this was a team that was looking to extend their unbeaten run to eight, because Wigan were far better than them in every single facet of the game – and more!

And it was almost unbelievable to believe that they played like this when the prize wax a week off and the chance to move within 80 minutes of an Old Trafford Grand Final appearance.

The Giants were totally and utterly blown away during a shattering opening 40 minutes, with a 24-0 interval scoreline summing it all up.

A lot of that was down to a superb Wigan start, although the visitors didn’t help themselves with a lack-lustre showing – both on attack and defence.

Apart from one very brief spell in the 13th minute when Joe Wardle was denied by a great Matt Bowen try-saving tackle and Brett Ferres lost the ball attempting to score moments later, it was all Wigan.

After the Warriors had dominated the opening exchanges, the pressure finally told on the Giants defence for the first time in the 22nd minute when, after the visitors had been forced to drop-out and then conceded a penalty on the last tackle, the ball was worked out to Josh Charnley to cross in the corner.

Matty Smith failed to convert after he had earlier opened his account with a fifth-minute penalty.

 

But it wasn’t long before the recently-announced Super League Dream Team rum half was pulling all the strings.

Smith was in hand to skip through several flimsy tackles for try No2 the minutes later and then produced a lovely short pass to send Tony Clubb rampaging through from 20m.

That made it 18-0 before the home side put the icing on their first-half cake six minutes by breaking from deep for Joe Burgess to release the supporting Liam Farrell to do the rest.

The game already looked to be out of sight.

But there was a glimmer of hope within a minute of the restart when Shaun Lunt made a half-break and fed Leroy Cudjoe to chip high for Craig Kopczak to palm the ball back for the kicker to collect and score.

Jake Connor was unable to convert, but at least the Giants had opened  their account.

Unfortunately, the positive feeling didn’t last long as the Warriors hit back four minutes later when Smith again cut through to send Joel Tomkins racing away for his first try since returning from rugby union, and despite the best efforts of Aaron Murphy to deny him.

Smith again converted and then piled further misery on the visitors five minutes later by adding his sixth goal after a superb long-range effort from Dan Sarginson.

Another brilliant break from deep quickly followed, with Bowen adding the finishing touch to take Wigan over the 40-point make it 42-4.

And with 25 minutes remaining, it was damage limitation for the demoralised men in claret and gold.

However, it soon got even more embarrassing as Charnley strolled through a shattered defence to cross in the corner.

Sean O’Loughlin added his side’s ninth try to bring up the half century with 16 minutes still to play and in the 71st minute Wigan hit double figures for tries for the night when Joe Burgess collected a Luke Robinson ‘bomb’ in the corner to race the length of the field to ouch down in the corner.

Smith then rubbed salt into the Giants’ gaping wounds to casually slot over a last-minute drop.

It was the final painful act of an agonising evening.