GIANTS coach Jon Sharp today revealed his pride at seeing his new Super League side give world club champions Bradford Bulls the fright of their lives.
A final scoreline of 20-6 to the Bulls in yesterday's rainswept McAlpine clash failed to reflect the closeness of an absorbing contest.
The Giants trailed just 8-6 going into the final 10 minutes, and until then had created slightly more chances.
But two late tries sealed the home side's fate, although it failed to dampen Sharp's obvious enthusiasm over the way his side had played.
"It's disappointing to have lost, but we acquitted ourselves well and the game was there to win," he said.
"To go so close against the world champions is no mean feat, and I'm proud of each and everyone of my players.
"On the scoreboard we may have been beaten, but in my mind my team were the winners.
"You never know exactly how well your team is progressing until you test yourself against the best, and I think yesterday proves we're definitely heading in the right direction.
"Some people may have been a little critical of us because of the teams we have beaten so far, but we have now shown we can compete against anyone.
"There was a chance to have beaten Bradford off the back of what we created, and that is hugely encouraging.
"The boys' effort and endeavour was outstanding and was there for all to see.
"All this bodes very well for the future."
And Sharp was already starting to turn his attentions to Sunday's Powergen Challenge Cup quarter-final clash at home to York City Knights, who suffered a 36-12 Arriva Trains Cup defeat at Batley yesterday.
He was taking a fitness check on all his players, and was keeping his fingers crossed he will be able to select from strength.
"You always know there will be bumps and bruises after Bradford, but hopefully not that many," he added.
The Giants had hoped for a five-figure crowd yesterday but partly because of the horrendous weather the official attendance was just 8,039.
However, Giants general manager Richard Thewlis was still delighted by the level of home support.
"We had over 5,000 fans from Huddersfield and that hasn't happened for many, many years," he said.
"That's a sensational effort, and we would like to thank all those who came out on such a poor day.
"To outshout the Bulls fans was fantastic."