It may not have been the most convincing of starts.
But by the end of 2015, it’s safe to say it’s been another positive year for Huddersfield Giants.
Head coach Paul Anderson may not agree, given the fact he’ll only be 100% satisfied when his team lifts the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford and collects the Challenge Cup at Wembley.
Yet for the Giants to secure another third-place Super League finish – and be able to look down on the likes of St Helens and Warrington in the process – and come within 80 minutes of reaching a first Super League Grand Final isn’t something to be dismissed.
Given the resources at their disposal compared to some of their so-called ‘bigger’ top-flight rivals, Huddersfield have once again emerged from a campaign with incredible credit.
It didn’t look as if that would be the case when they suffered a 19-0 opening-day home defeat to Hull FC.
But after that shaky start – they followed up with defeats at Leeds and Wigan to make it three defeats out of three at the start of the year – they once again became one of the competition’s powerhouses.
As a result, by the end of the season, they were just three points behind minor champions Leeds and runners-up Wigan on 38 points, with 18 wins and two draws from their 30 regular and Super 8s fixtures. Oh, just think where they could have finished had they not started so slowly!
Take a look at the Giants' season below.
Unfortunately, a 32-8 play-off semi-final defeat at Wigan was a huge disappointment – just like their heavy Challenge Cup fifth-round exit at eventual treble winners Leeds – to suggest the Giants just can’t produce the goods when the stakes are at their highest.
That’s one of the main reasons why Ryan Hinchcliffe and Sam Rapira have been signed from Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors in the Australian NRL respectively. Their experience on the biggest stage could make all the difference in the world.
And with 2015 Super League Dream Team winger and competition’s leading tryscorer Jermaine McGillvary ready to start next season having made his full England debut to help his country secure a 2-1 Test series success over New Zealand and then be named in the World XIII and Danny Brough again named in last season’s Dream Team, the Giants certainly have the attacking armoury to be even better in 2016.
Obviously, the controversial departure of England back-row star Brett Ferres for disciplinary reasons is a big and untimely blow to Anderson’s future plans.
But the Giants have certainly had their fair share of off-field disruption in recent times, and on every occasion have come back stronger as a result.
So why should this time be any different?