IN-FORM Giants back-rower Michael Lawrence has admitted the players were as gutted as much for the fans as they were for themselves after suffering an agonising late 27-20 Super League defeat at Catalan Dragons.
Around 1,000 Huddersfield fans made the long trip to the south of France to support their side as they looked to secure a victory that would have taken them back to the top of the table.
But a late Thomas Bosc drop goal and converted Vincent Duport score sunk the visitors after Joe Wardle’s 72nd-minute try had levelled the scores at 20-20.
And Lawrence says missing out hit the Giants hard.
“We’re absolutely gutted by the way the game finished,” said the 22-year-old former outside back.
“It was always going to be tough to come here and win, because no team has done it so far this season. They’ve also posted some big wins along the way, including against Warrington the other week.
“As a result, we all set ourselves a target of making sure we ended that Catalan record, and there were times during the game when we felt we’d do it.
“But we also made a pledge just before kick-off that we’d try and win the game for the fans. They were absolutely amazing.
“We couldn’t believe it when we went out for the warm-up and saw so many had come down to support us.
“It’s by far the biggest following we’ve had down here, and the way they got behind us was incredible.
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“So, on behalf of all the lads, I’d just like to say a massive ‘thank you’ for coming out here. We’re just so gutted we couldn’t get the result their efforts deserved.
“But at least it’s not the end of the world. We’re still in a great position in the League and we’ve got a Challenge Cup quarter-final to look forward to at home to London Broncos next Sunday, so things could be a lot worse!”
Lawrence was singled out for praise for his efforts by Giants coach Nathan Brown, which the ex-Newsome Panthers junior felt had helped ease some of the pain of losing against what he admitted was a good Catalan Dragons side.
“They are a good side, there’s no doubt about that at all,” added Lawrence.
“You know you’re going to have to play really well to get anything out of a game down here, and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that. And they made us pay.
“Their fans always get right behind them as well, and that seems to lift them physically.
“It’s obvious why they’ve got such a fantastic home record, but we also know we could have beaten them – and should have done.”