Rick Stone has warned his Huddersfield Giants that just because they’re about to face the four Championship sides in the Middle 8s it doesn’t give them a divine right to emerge victorious.

Even though mis-firing Huddersfield opened their seven-game mini-League bid to avoid relegation with a bitterly disappointing 34-12 defeat at fellow Super League side Salford Red Devils, they’ll still be expected to be too strong for Featherstone Rovers in Sunday’s home clash at the John Smith’s Stadium.

They then travel to Batley Bulldogs the following Sunday before hosting London Broncos five days later and back that up with arguably their toughest Championship club assignment at Leigh Centurions on Saturday, September 10.

A win in all four games and then success at home to Leeds Rhinos or at Hull KR in their final two Super 8s fixtures would be enough to guarantee them a top-three finish and a place in next season’s Super League competition without having to worry about winning the ‘million pound game’ between the clubs finishing fourth and fifth to claim the final top-flight spot.

But even though Stone’s men are about to face a Featherstone side thrashed 62-6 at home to Leeds Rhinos on Saturday and should have too much Super League experience for all of their Championship opponents, the vastly-experienced Australian has seen plenty of warning signs from his Giants to suggest nothing can be taken for granted.

Huddersfield Giants Supporters Association column: Not good enough - on and off the field

“We have a few games against Championship teams coming up, but there are no free lunches in this game,” said Stone.

“If we turn up with the same sort of attitude as we showed at Salford on Sunday, then we’ll be in for a real battle against Featherstone.

“I went to see them play at home to Leeds the other day, and they competed well in the first half until Leeds really showed their class.

“I was impressed with Featherstone’s willingness and intent, which is something I wasn’t impressed with from us 24 hours later.

“We’ve got to make sure that’s a different story this weekend.

“We have to show a lot more hunger and desire, which is something you’d always expect to see in what is a ’must win’ game.

“Our task in the Middle 8s has now become much harder because of that Salford defeat, and I expect that to bring out the best in the players. They know the stakes are getting higher.”