Impressive Huddersfield Giants underlined their recent improvement in Super League form with a resounding Magic Weekend triumph over in-form St Helens.
Head coach Paul Anderson wouldn’t have been happy to have seen his resurgent side concede 20 points.
But to rattle up eight tries and 48 points against a side like Saints has to go down as a fantastic achievement as Huddersfield won on their travels for the first time in 2016.
The initial exchanges didn’t augur well, with Saints looking the more dominant and the Giants having to rely on scraps to break the early stranglehold.
Fortunately, with the Huddersfield defence more than up to the task, with fit-again full-back Scott Grix taking two dangerous high kicks with aplomb to quell the ending threat.
And having weathered that storm, the Giants began to gain the upper hand.
Half-breaks from Jake Connor and Jermaine McGillvary had offered hope, and those eventually paved the way for points.
It was McGillvary who was the first strike midway through the half, profiting on some great work from deep from Leroy Cudjoe, Joe Wardle, Jamie Ellis and Grix.
That helped stretch the Saints defence to eventually give McGillvary the chance to finish in the corner, for Danny Brough to add the extras from the same position he landed the equalising goal in last season’s dramatic Magic draw against Catalans Dragons.
And the lead was doubled six minutes later when St Helens’ debut centre Calvin Wellington spilled the ball close to the line and Ukuma Ta’ai picked up the pieces to power over on the nod of video referee Phil Bentham.
Brough again added the extras and, moments later, was instrumental in sending Aaron Murphy clear to feed the supporting Ellis to finish in the left corner.
Unfortunately, Brough was unable to convert and four minutes before the break, former Giants centre Matt Dawson crossed for a try, converted by Luke Walsh, to reduce the Huddersfield lead to 16-6.
But it was still a first half full of genuine Giants promise.
If Saints’ try just before the break had unnerved the Giants, it hardly showed as they grabbed their fourth try a minute after the break – albeit with a stroke of luck, with Brough’s build-up pass a yard forward but not given.
Not that Huddersfield complained, of course, as the ball was swept for McGillvary to eventually cross in the corner for his second, again goaled by the impressive Brough.
Nine minutes later came try No5 when strong drives to the line from Sam Rapira and Sebatine Ikahihifo softened up the Saints defence for Rapira to stroll over for Brough to add his fourth goal.
At 28-6 it was looking very good.
But it was nowhere near as good as Connor’s football skills – better than seen by Newcastle United during the last Premier League season – as he chipped ahead Brough’s low pass, regathered and fed Murphy to touch down for a fifth converted score.
Saints showed they weren’t about to raise the white flag as Jack Owens crossed in the corner following a sweeping move. They then closed the gap to 34-16 moments later when Grix spilled a high ball and Theo Fages capitalised to stroll over.
With St Helens gaining a new lease of life, Brough added a penalty after Ryan Hinchcliffe had been caught with a high shot to burst their bubble, albeit temporarily as Adam Swift touched down in the corner to make it 36-20 with 10 minutes remaining.
But Hinchcliffe made sure their bright spell was shortlived by plunging over from close range for his first Giants try to bring up the 40 for his side.
And Kyle Wood put the icing on the cake by finishing off after another strong Cudjoe charge.