Huddersfield Giants coach Rick Stone accused his team of self-destructing after they went down 29-22 at home to Catalans Dragons to remain rooted in the bottom four of the Betfred Super League.
The Giants led 10-6 thanks to early tries from Aaron Murphy and debutant Jake Mamo but let the position slip with a series of errors as the Dragons ran in three tries in a 12-minute spell to clinch their second away win in six days.
“The players have got a bit of explaining to do about how they’re managing games,” said Stone, whose side have now gone seven games without a win.
“I can’t keep coming in here and defending them. They’ve got to start taking some responsibility for some of the things they’re doing out on the field.
“If they don’t start doing something about it, they’re not going to win too many games. We can’t keep serving teams games on a platter.
“We showed how to self-destruct in 20 minutes and it’s increasingly frustrating. It digs us into a deeper hole.”
Huddersfield conceded one of the tries while down to 12 men with acting captain Danny Brough sent to the sin bin for disputing referee Chris Campbell’s decision to award the visitors a 20-metre re-start instead of a drop-out.
“I can see Danny’s frustration,” Stone said. “It was a pretty pivotal part of the game.
“Krisnan Inu clearly takes the ball in the field of play, not the in-goal, and Danny has challenged the referee.
“He takes pride in putting his kicks in the right spot and, as captain he has got the right to ask, but eventually he has got to accept referee’s decision and move on with it.”
Huddersfield grabbed late tries from Jermaine McGillvary and Sam Wood while the home fans were consoled by the man-of-the-match performance from Mamo, who made his eagerly-awaited Super League bow after recovering from a broken ankle.
“It was good to see Jake play,” Stone said. “I thought he handled getting our defence right and he was potent when he got the footy. It was one positive from the night and he’s only going to get better because he hasn’t done a heap of running.”
France full-back Tony Gigot scored the Catalans’ opening try, his second in as many games since completing a three-month ban, while Brayden Williame, Richie Myler, Luke Walsh and Vincent Duport added others as they successfully followed up their win at Leigh.
“We spent a very good week in camp,” said Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous, whose squad based themselves in Manchester in the build-up to Wednesday’s match.
“We have had two very good performances away from home and I’m pretty proud of the boys.
“It was very important that we bounced back from losing by 40 at home to Wakefield and hopefully we can maintain that. It’s about consistency.”
It is no coincidence that the Catalans have started to find their form since the return of Gigot.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Frayssinous said. “Structure wise with the team, he puts everyone in the right position and in attack he’s very smart. He knows where he needs to be at any time.
“His fitness is not how I’d like to be yet but the combination with Richie Myler and Luke Walsh will get better and better.”