There seems a genuine feeling within the Giants camp that the whole world is against them right now.
And it is easy to see why.
As well as struggling to find the form that helped Huddersfield secure a first top-of-the-table finish in 81 years to claim the Super League Leaders’ Shield last season, they’ve been on the receiving end of some incredibly tough calls.
It all started at Catalan Dragons a month ago, when video referee Thierry Alibert inexplicably ruled Louis Anderson had grounded the ball for a try when it was obvious he’d applied no downward pressure. That gave the French a 12-0 first-half lead completely against the run of play, and meant the Giants spent the rest of the game playing catch-up.
A week later, they incurred the wrath of referee James Child at home to Warrington Wolves. Huddersfield were deservedly 14-4 ahead at the break before the match official took it upon himself to punish the hosts at every turn and the end result was a 33-14 defeat.
That was followed, of course, by Bethamgate and the no drop-goal call against Danny Brough in the closing moments of the Challenge Cup tie against St Helens with the game locked at 16-16.
Whether it went over or not is a debate that will rage on forever, but little has been mentioned about the fact the reason Brough’s three earlier drop-goal attempts were so easily charged down was because the Saints defenders were five yards offside on all three occasions!
Luke Walsh then landed the winning drop goal with the Giants all in an onside position.
Was it any surprise, therefore, that the Giants were in an emotionally ‘bad place’ when they travelled over to Hull FC just a few days later and with the cruel nature of their Cup exit so fresh in their minds.
But delve a little deeper, and it’s possible other factors may have been involved in this most sluggish of starts.
Yes, the Giants may have started their 2014 campaign with a magnificent 24-8 win at champions Wigan, but they did head to the DW Stadium with a far-from-ideal pre-season behind them.
For a start, Huddersfield spent a large chunk of their valuable preparatory work without the services of their nine World Cup members (while it’s something the likes of Leeds, Wigan and St Helens experience on a regular basis, but is unchartered territory for the Super League Giants), or vastly-experienced players like Shaun Lunt, Joe Wardle and David Faiumu, who were recovering from major surgery.
As a result, it was always going to take a bit of time for the Giants to get into their stride.
But it still can’t excuse the start being as shaky as this.
The key to last season’s success was the way the players worked together as if their lives depended on it. Danny Brough was the chief executioner, but it was the team around him that made him so effective.
But so far this season,m that team hasn’t been so effective.
The forwards haven’t been able to provide such a firm foundation, Brough’s threat has been diminished by opponents fired-up to claim the scalp of the current holders of the League Leaders’ Shield, and uncharacteristic mistakes have started to creep in.
And then, of course, we go back to those tough calls, which have become such a big issue.
When players believe the world is against them, every little call can escalate into a major issue, and may be that’s where the Giants find themselves right now.
It’s probably easier said than done, but as soon as Huddersfield can change this mindset and focus on getting back to the basics, then the wins will start to follow – because this Giants side still remains good enough to beat anyone.
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