BADLY beaten Huddersfield Giants were handed a massive reality check after suffering a heavy defeat at Leeds Rhinos.
Nine days earlier coach Jon Sharp's side had wiped the floor with Castleford, with fans hoping the 36-0 victory was a sign of things to come.
But instead, the Giants left Leeds looking to pick up the pieces ahead of the start of Super League in 13 days.
The nature of yesterday's defeat was as emphatic as their victory had been over the Tigers in that previous pre-season encounter.
The game against Castleford was completely one-sided in the Giants' favour, while the Headingley encounter was totally the other way around.
Huddersfield were simply unable to get to grips with their opponents and on attack, in particular, they were woeful.
The last-minute loss of the highly influential Brandon Costin, who picked up an ankle injury in training, clearly did not help the cause.
But surely they should have been able to offer an awful lot more on offence.
As it was, it was defence which was the order of the day, and Leeds loved all the possession they found at their disposal.
With their opponents finding it almost impossible to hold the ball for a full set of six tackles, the writing was on the wall.
And with referee Ben Thaler adding to the Giants' woes by penalising every minor indiscretion, the final outcome was inevitable.
By the end of a scrappy 80 minutes - the quality of the match was something of an insult to Leeds winger Francis Cummins, whose testimonial game it was - Huddersfield had suffered four sin-binnings, two in each half.
Paul March twice upset Thaler, the first time for fighting (34 minutes) and then for interference (63minutes), while Chris Nero (31 minutes) and Jim Gannon (72 minutes) were also forced to take 10-minute breathers for interference.
And to make matters worse, Ben Roarty could find himself on a disciplinary charge after being placed on report for an alleged stamp on Gary Connolly midway through the first half.
Leeds, on the other hand, escaped lightly, with Wayne McDonald their only player to be binned for his part in the fight with March.
Put all these factors together - the out-of-sorts Giants display and the four trips to the sin-bin - and was it any wonder they failed to make their mark against former boss Tony Smith and his new side?
However, the scene for this highly disappointing Giants display had been set in the opening 10 minutes.
Before the visitors had been able to get into their stride thay had conceded two tries following kicks.
Try No1 came after six minutes as Matt Diskin kicked ahead and the ball rebounded off the post straight into the hands of Danny McGuire to score.
Kevin Sinfield added the conversion and followed suit three minutes later after the Giants failed to defuse a `bomb' on the sixth tackle and Ryan Bailey was on hand to capitalise and burst over.
That should have acted as a Giants' wake-up call, but instead they remained half asleep for the remainder of the half.
In fact, the closest they came to breaking their duck before the break came in the 36th minute when Paul Smith was held up on the line after chasing a Sean Penkywicz kick-through.
But it was even worse for the Giants after the break as they threatened the Leeds' line even less.
The Rhinos, on other hand, found their way over the tryline on four more occasions.
Bailey added his second within three minutes of the restart, and by the end of the contest Mark Calderwood, Keith Senior and Cummins had added to the tally.
Thankfully, Sinfield and Rob Burrow failed to add the conversions.
The Giants should be grateful for small mercies!
Leeds Rhinos: Connolly; Calderwood, Walker, Senior, Cummins; Dunemann, McGuire; Bailey, Diskin, Ward, Furner, Poching, Sinfield. Subs (all used): Feather, McDonald, Burrow, Netherton, Jones, Buchanan, McKenna.
Tries: McGuire (6mins), Bailey (9mins and 43mins), Calderwood (56mins), Senior (65mins), Cummins (72mins).
Goals: Sinfield 2 from 5, Burrow 0 from 1.
Sin-binning: McDonald (fighting, 34mins).
Huddersfield Giants: Reilly; O'Hare, Donlan, Bailey, St Hilaire; Gene, March; Slicker, Turner, Gannon, Nero, Roarty, Jones. Subs (all used): Penkywicz, Crabtree, Cooper, Fleary, Smith.
Sin-binnings: Nero (interference, 31mins), March (fighting, 34mins and interference, 63mins), Gannon (72mins, interference).
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).
Scrums won: Rhinos 11, Giants 9.
Penalties conceded: Rhinos 17, Giants 11.