Anyone following the results of Huddersfield Giants Under 16s may feel they’re the most inconsistent side in the world.
A fortnight ago, the Super League club’s youngest team was beaten 36-14 at London Broncos.
A week later they went to Wigan Warriors and stormed to a thoroughly-deserved 26-16 victory. Any success at Wigan is always an eye-catching one.
And now they’ve suffered a 38-14 home defeat at the hands of Bradford Bulls at the DRAM Centre.
Apart from one early try from Jake Wardle and two second-half efforts from Damian Wood and Ross Whitmore and one Ethan Salm conversion, the Giants were on the back foot throughout as the impressive Bulls made them pay for every error they made.
Losing the contest was clearly disappointing, but Giants Player Performance Manager Steve Hardisty knows it’s hardly the end of the world.
In fact, he’s fully aware the results at this level will count for little further down the line.
“Results really aren’t the main thing at this age group,” said Hardisty.
“Don’t get me wrong, we are competitive and we do want to win every game we play.
“But when it comes to the 16s, we’re a development programme, although it’s not easy to say that after what’s just happened against Bradford!
“At this level, we have a squad of 36 Year 10 and Year 11s and no team will be the same in the eight fixtures we’ll be playing this season.
“That’s because we want to give all 36 a fair crack out there on the field so we, the coaching staff, can gauge how many have what it takes to progress up to the Under 19s at Senior Academy level. Then obviously, the next step is up to Super League.
“In the Bradford game, we ran with eight of our younger Year 10s, while the Bulls fielded four, which immediately gave them a bit of an advantage.
“But they still did a good job against us – they’ve got good people working at Odsal – and all credit to them.
“I know our younger squad will have taken a lot out of this game.”