IN patches, the Giants can be brilliant, in others they can be woeful.
That about sums up Huddersfield’s season, and was again the story of their Challenge Cup exit at Hull KR.
At times, their play is nothing short of breathtaking, as emphasised by their opening assault which Rovers found impossible to match as the Giants grabbed a deserved 12-0 lead after 17 red-hot minutes.
But at other times, they can look all at sea, making schoolboy errors and defending with hardly any confidence at all.
And that, unfortunately, was again the case at New Craven Park, with disastrous spells in the second quarter and final quarter sealing their fate.
In the first half, the visitors failed to build on their opening momentum and conceded four tries – through a combination of individual errors, questionable defence and smart Robins’ play – to trail 22-12 at the break.
Then after starting the second half strongly to level the scores, the Giants again pressed the self-destruct button to ship in a further four tries, with individual mistakes once again a decisive factor.
It’s obviously an exceptionally worrying trend, and if coach Jon Sharp can’t find some answers pretty quickly, this season could become a complete non-event now interest in the Challenge Cup has come to an end.
But if he does, and the Giants can play to their full potential for the full 80 minutes, then all may still not be lost.
No-one can doubt Huddersfield’s attacking ability, which was clearly on show in front of the BBC TV cameras in the opening quarter of a Cup-tie played in searing heat.
After getting the better of the early exchanges, it was no great surprise when Paul Whatuira pounced on a loose ball courtesy of kicks from first Luke Robinson and then Kevin Brown to get the vital touch.
That sixth-tackle score came on the back of some outstanding approach play, with Robinson’s conversion putting the icing on the cake.
And more top-quality attacking skill was on show just four minutes later as fantastic work from Brown and Steve Snitch enabled Ryan Hudson to score a richly-deserved try under the posts.
Robinson’s kick made it 12-0.
But that was as good as it got for the Giants.
From the moment Scott Murrell shrugged off several attempted tackles to crash over from close range in the 21st minute, the Giants were facing an uphill battle.
Five minutes later Ben Cockayne’s perfect grubber to the corner was collected by Daniel Fitzhenry to score and then four minutes after that, the unfortunate Rod Jensen spilled a high Paul Cooke ‘bomb’ and the ball was worked out for Peter Fox to finish in the corner and make it 16-12 to Rovers.
Three minutes before the break, Shaun Briscoe followed up Murrell’s grubber to touch down and the hosts looked to be in the driving seat.
But, just like in the opening period, the Giants started the second the stronger.
Whatuira scooped up a loose ball to race 40m within three minutes of the restart before a superb Eorl Crabtree offload enabled Robinson to send out a long pass for Martin Aspinwall to score in the corner.
Tom Hemingway landed a superb touchline conversion and the scores were back level.
Unfortunately, however, that had just set the scene for another dramatic Giants’ capitulation.
In the 54th minute, Aspinwall and Hemingway conspired to fumble a high ball between them and, from the subsequent scrum, the position was created for Fox to add his second.
Then, after Robinson’s kick-off went out on the full, the Robins kicked the penalty deep into the visitors’ territory from where Mick Vella crashed over. It was now 32-22.
A Brown break almost gave his half-back partner Robinson a run to the line with 11 minutes remaining to set up what could have been a grandstand finale.
But in the last seven minutes Chris Chester and Ben Fisher both finished well-worked moves to rub salt in the Giants’ wounds.