Untroubled Huddersfield Giants made it two Middle 8s triumphs on the trot by producing a blockbusting first-half performance to blast hosts Batley Bulldogs out of sight by showing their Super League class.
Head coach Rick Stone’s side were fitter, stronger and faster than their outclassed hosts as they romped over for nine tries before the interval to charge into an unassailable 48-2 lead.
It was quite simply men v boys during an opening 40 minutes that helped keep the Giants on course for retaining their Super League status for 2017.
But while Stone will have been delighted with the way his side started the contest – something he had called for during the week – he will have been far from impressed with the events in the second half as the Bulldogs scored five tries to Huddersfield’s two.
All credit has to go to Batley for that.
Yet while it was somewhat predictable the Giants would take their foot off the gas after doing all the hard work early on, Huddersfield really undid a lot of that positive early effort.
The first half really couldn’t have gone any better.
Batley did suggest in the opening few exchanges they might be up for the challenge, with a strong Chris Ulugia break up the slope paving the way for Dominic Brambani to land a third-minute penalty to give his side the lead.
But from the moment Leroy Cudjoe dummied and strolled over two minutes later, it was all one-way traffic.
By the break, the Giants had crossed for nine tries, six of which were converted by Jamie Ellis to take the visitors 48-2 ahead.
To be honest, it was embarrassing, with Huddersfield scoring virtually at will.
Try No2 came in the ninth minute when Gene Orsmby brushed off former Giants winger Alex Brown with ease to touch down in the corner before Ryan Hinchcliffe’s quick surge on half way opened up the Batley defence and gave the supporting Eorl Crabtree the opportunity to finish off.
Brown’s torrid opening 40 minutes continued midway through the half when he spilled an Ellis high bomb and the alert Tom Symonds took full advantage to make the most of the error to score his side’s fourth.
Symonds added his second five minute later on the back of an Ellis 40-20, although that try had come moments after Jake Connor had also scored from close range.
At 30-2 after 25 minutes, the game was already well over as a contest.
But in the final 13 minutes, a further three tries were added, with Joe Wardle crashing over from a short Hinchcliffe pass before Ryan Brierley capitalised on smart play from Connor and Ellis to bag a quickfire double.
The break came at just the right time for the Bulldogs, enabling them to start the second period with their batteries recharged.
And they were unlucky not to strike first when James Davey drove to the line but lost the ball attempting to score.
But they weren’t to be denied in the 53rd minute when Shaun Squires competed with Aaron Murphy for a Brambani crossfield kick and had the momentum to win the battle and touch down in the corner for Brambani to add the extras.
That made it 48-8, and the lead was reduced to under 40 just four minutes later when the Giants conceded another soft penalty and Dave Scott quickly crafted the opening to dart over for a second converted score.
Those were scores that clearly hurt the Giants, with normal service finally resumed on the hour as Cudjoe showed his strength to stretch out and score to bring up the half-century for his side.
But with the job having already been done, Huddersfield continued to go through the motions and conceded a third try down the slope with 13 minutes remaining when Murphy failed to clear another kick and Squires pounced for his second converted score.
Further Bulldogs pressure nearly brought more reward, but as they looked to keep the ball alive, it fell to ground and Brierley gained possession and raced 90m up the infamous Mount Pleasant slope to complete his hat trick.
The powerful Ulugia showed his strength to power over for Batley’s fourth try to reward the home side’s never-say-die attitude in the 78th minute and with 30 seconds remaining Scott added his second to complete the scoring. At least that sent the Batley fans home smiling.