FLAT Huddersfield Giants got exactly what they deserved from this contest – nothing!
Only in very brief patches was the attacking form that brought the stunning success over St Helens and the battling draw at Hull KR in evidence.
Instead, the stuttering Giants found it almost impossible to get out of second gear, and the Dragons lapped it up.
It’s true Huddersfield could have won it in the last minute when Adam Mogg’s brilliant cover tackle prevented Luke Robinson from finishing off, and then referee Richard Silverwood cruelly ruled the scrum half had knocked on when there was blatant interference.
But if the home side had scored, they would have played a massive ‘get out of jail free’ card.
Their efforts against the impressive French never deserved a win, and in the end no-one could really argue about the destination of the two Super League points.
While the Giants struggled to get into their stride, the Dragons looked far sharper and stronger during their dominant spells and produced a defensive effort which had to be admired, even though they did test the patience of match official Silverwood on numerous occasions.
In fact, it was only when in-form substitute hooker Ryan Hudson was on the field that the Giants were a genuine threat.
If ever there was a player who didn’t deserve to be on the losing side it had to be Hudson.
As soon as he entered the fray midway through the opening half, his side sparked up.
He played a part in the Giants’ opening try, scored the second and then set up the third.
On top of that, he produced one of the tackles of the season to send Catalans front-rower Jerome Guisset crashing to the ground when the prop was charging flat-out towards him.
Unfortunately, however, such brave defence failed to inspire the rest of his teammates who were simply unable to follow his lead and, as a result, the final result was almost inevitable.
It was pretty clear from the start that the Giants were flat.
A lack of urgency and cohesion in the opening quarter resulted in a 4-0 deficit after the concession of two early penalties to Thomas Bosc.
And it became even more apparent this might be one of those days when Leroy Cudjoe unluckily had a try disallowed in the 21st minute because of the slightest of obstructions by Stuart Jones in back play. If it had gone to the video referee the score would have been awarded. But four minutes before the interval, the Giants finally got the breakthrough when Hudson and Kevin Brown combined to send Jamahl Lolesi racing over.
Chris Thorman converted and it was 6-4.
It got even better within three minutes of the restart when Hudson rolled over the line and through a crowd of bodies and was awarded the benefit of the doubt by video referee Ashley Klein.
Thorman’s reliable boot made it 12-4 and it looked as if the Giants might be on their way.
But that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
By the 47th minute David Ferriol had crashed over for a converted try under the posts and the tide had well and truly turned.
Bosc’s fine solo try after 60 minutes, which he again goaled, nudged the Dragons back in front and three minutes later came the real killer blow.
Thorman’s attempted clearance kick was charged down by Jamal Fakir, who then collected the ball and charged in at the corner to make it 20-12.
The Giants did step up a gear late in the contest, with Keith Mason held up over the tryline and Paul Whatuira taken into touch by the corner flag.
But it wasn’t until the 77th minute that they were able to set up a grandstand finish when Darrell Griffin crashed over under the posts.
Unfortunately, despite successfully converting a try with a drop goal in the past, Thorman’s effort this time no longer counted and the gap was four points.
With a minute remaining Thorman broke clear and released Robinson, who was hauled down by Mogg when a try looked certain.
He then got up quickly to play the ball, was obstructed and lost possession.
But instead of the penalty, a knock-on was ruled and the final chance had gone begging.
Somehow it just summed up the day!