HOW well Huddersfield Giants bounce back after last weekend's Challenge Cup semi-final defeat could hold the key to the outcome of Sunday's Super League clash against Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium (3.00).

The nature of the 46-6 setback against St Helens at the same venue severely dented the Giants' pride.

Now Huddersfield must pick up the pieces and regain the Super League form that has seen them command a top-six spot all season.

That won't be easy against a resurgent Warrington side who can count themselves desperately unlucky not to have beaten world champions Bradford Bulls at home on Tuesday.

In the end, the Wolves had to settle for a 22-22 draw, much to the disgust of coach Paul Cullen, who had seen his side lead 18-6 at one stage of the contest.

But, just as significantly, was the performance produced by Cullen's men at Salford just four days before.

That was Warrington's first game since they lost to Wigan in the first Challenge Cup semi-final at Widnes.

It proved a far from convincing display, with the Wolves clearly suffering from a semi-final hangover as they struggled early on before finally powering away in the last quarter to triumph 37-18.

Giants head coach Jon Sharp will have watched that game with interest, and is now taking steps to ensure his own men don't suffer a similar fate on Sunday.

"One of my initial concerns after the St Helens defeat was the way the boys would respond to the disappointment," he said.

"But I shouldn't have worried. This group of players never fails to amaze me with the way they pick themselves up.

"Obviously, they were all bitterly disappointed with the way it went, particularly as they knew they had all under-performed on the big stage.

"But they almost immediately made a pact to move on, and look ahead to an even brighter Super League future.

"Even though we were well beaten by Saints, it still doesn't hide the fact that we have made a positive start to the League campaign, and we want to carry it on.

"We know it's going to be tough against Warrington this weekend.

"I've been impressed with them all season, and at home they are a formidable side, full of quality performers.

"But I believe we have the strength of character to overcome our Cup loss and give a really good account of ourselves back at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium.

"In that respect, Sunday is a massive match for us and it's absolutely vital we get a victory over there."

Sharp welcomed his players back to training yesterday after giving them a break in order to rest aching limbs.

But he admits some of his players are still feeling battered and bruised.

"The rest has clearly done some of the boys a lot of good, but there are others who are still struggling," said Sharp.

"That's making team selection a little tricky. Fingers crossed it's a different story by the time Sunday arrives."

Warrington are sixth in the table, a point and a place below Huddersfield, who have played a game less.

Warrington Wolves: Cardiss, Hulse, Varkulis, Sibbitt, Grose, Westwood, Gaskell, Briers, Wood (N), Wood (P), Lima, Clarke, Hilton, Noone, Wainwright, Forshaw, Gleeson, Guisset, Stevens, Burns.

Huddersfield Giants: Reilly, O'Hare, Nero, Bailey, St Hilaire, Costin, March, Slicker, Turner, Fleary, Jones, Roarty, Gene, Penkywicz, Gannon, Smith, Crabtree, Cooper, Donlan, Morrison.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (Mirfield).