AWAY-DAY blues, what away-day blues?
After failing to win any of their opening 10 Super League fixtures on the road, the Giants are now celebrating two on the trot.
And in so many ways, this victory against the desperate Tigers was just as noteworthy as the sensational 34-4 win at Wigan nine days before.
While the Warriors were accused of making life easy for the Giants with a lacklustre showing at the JJB Stadium, the Tigers were the complete opposite.
This was a fixture they knew they simply had to win to stand any chance of avoiding finishing bottom of the table, and they played as if they meant it!
But despite being put under some extreme pressure by the Tigers, Huddersfield held their nerve – and defensive shape – to keep their hosts at arms length and eventually finish the contest with a flurry.
A final scoreline of 40-14 may seem a little harsh on the home side, especially when they twice had a golden opportunity to take the lead at the end of the first half and beginning of the second, with Michael Shenton and Brent Sherwin wasting great chances.
But that wouldn’t be fair on the Giants, whose extra attacking spark and sheer physical presence ultimately won the day.
Their level of fitness compared to the Tigers was unquestionable, and the three tries in the final eight minutes proved that beyond doubt. Take a bow conditioner Ben Cooper!
But while Cooper and the Giants caretaker coaching team of Paul Anderson and Kieron Purtill deserve credit for coming up with such a successful master plan, it’s clearly the team itself that should take most of the applause.
And ‘team’ is the key word, because this latest Giants win was again down to the collective effort rather than the individual, with all 17 once again contributing fully to the cause.
However, when it came to the scoring of the points, captain Chris Thorman was the main man, finishing with a total of 20 – half of his side’s points – in another accomplished stand-off show.
Thorman scored one try and kicked eight goals from nine attempts to inspire Huddersfield during that one-sided second half, with 10 of those points coming in the destructive – and highly enjoyable – final burst.
Paul Whatuira scored after 72 minutes following a 90m break by Leroy Cudjoe, Darrell Griffin charged over from close range – with both tries goaled by Thorman – before the skipper went over in the final minute after good work from Whatuira.
And that late charge was fairly reminiscent of the Giants’ opening when they scored two tries in three minutes to lead 12-2 after 15 minutes.
They opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Stephen Wild and Whatuira worked the blindside to put David Hodgson in at the corner for the 100th try of his career.
Then Jamahl Lolesi scored the Giants’ second try after Luke Robinson and Kevin Brown provided the opening.
Castleford, who had taken the lead with a Craig Huby penalty, hit back after 22 minutes when teenage winger Richard Owen scooped up a pass to score in the corner.
A Thorman penalty gave the visitors a six-point advantage but it was all square at the break as Tigers half-back Luke Dorn pounced on a kick from Sherwin to claim his 16th try of the season.
Castleford then wasted excellent opportunities and were made to pay after 58 minutes when their former skipper Ryan Hudson, who is still strongly rumoured to be set for a return to The Jungle, burrowed his way over.
Within a minute of taking the field, home substitute Michael Korkidas was sin-binned for a late challenge on Robinson, an offence which enabled Thorman to stretch the lead to 20-14.
Griffin and Tigers half-back Ryan McGoldrick were then yellow-carded for fighting two minutes later before another Thorman penalty nudged the Giants further ahead and that late points flurry completed the resounding victory.