HUDDERSFIELD Giants' hopes of reaching the Senior Academy play-offs have suffered a major blow.
Coach Lee St Hilaire's side were last night beaten 38-6 by an exceptionally strong Widnes Vikings side at the Halton Stadium.
There's still a slight chance of Huddersfield making the top six, if they win at Hull next week and Widnes lose heavily to Wigan.
But a play-off spot would have virtually been nailed on had the Giants gained two points last night.
Unfortunately, it was clear from the start that the visitors were facing an uphill task.
While injuries to the Giants' Super League squad meant St Hilaire was forced to field a weakened side, Widnes had the luxury of being able to include established top-flight performers David Mills, Ryan McDonald and Chris Giles.
And by half-time the game was over as a contest as the Vikings stormed into a 30-0 lead.
To their credit, Huddersfield rallied after the break, with Tony Williams and Philip Joseph leading a brave rearguard action.
Those efforts were rewarded as Danny Samuel crashed over for a well-deserved try, which was converted by stand-off Williams.
Yet it couldn't hide the fact that the Giants were second best on the night.
Attention will now turn to the Junior Academy, who also play Widnes, this time at Fartown, tomorrow (2.30).
It's a game the Under 18s should be confident of winning after beating Warrington 46-18 a week ago to make it four wins on the trot, with Marcus George and Matthew Simpson both scoring two tries each.
Junior Academy: Simpson; Sutherland, George, Watson, Fagborun; Hemingway, Hawkyard; Southwell, Robinson, Brown, Fitzpatrick, Knight, Tsang. Subs (from): Crabtree, Mennell, Hull, Samuel, Dunbar.