HORRIFIC Huddersfield Giants served up their worst display under Nathan Brown’s regime with a nightmare showing against struggling Salford City Reds.
Defeat by just 12 points and with both sides scoring four tries each simply doesn’t tell the story of how bad the Giants were on the day.
They looked a pale shadow of the side that had worked so hard to make it to third in the Super League table ahead of the contest.
And even without the likes of Brett Hodgson, Eorl Crabtree, Keith Mason, Lee Gilmour, David Fa’alogo, Brad Drew, Stephen Wild and Simon Finnigan, who were all watching on painfully from the stand, there was still far more than enough class in this line-up to bring home another valuable two League points.
But on the day they were simply unable to deliver and deserved everything they got on the day – absolutely nothing!
And it soon became clear this may not be their day.
With the strong wind behind them, Salford wasted little time taking full advantage.
Within four minutes they made the most of the stiff breeze, with Daniel Holdsworth’s 40-20 putting his side onto the attack.
For five tackles, the Giants defended well, but on the last they clocked off and the position was created for Adam Sidlow to crash over from close range.
Holdsworth converted and it soon became clear this was going to be far from a straightforward afternoon.
A good Leroy Cudjoe break in the 13th minute almost created an opening, but on the back of a first-half display like this it was no surprise the move broke down.
And it was also no real surprise when the City Reds extended their lead midway through the half when Holdsworth landed a penalty and then notched up a second five minutes later as the sustained pressure on the Giants’ line began to take its control.
The day Huddersfield were having was then summed up on the half-hour mark when Kevin Brown broke from halfway and fed David Hodgson, who brushed the corner flag in the acting of scoring. That was certainly cruel on the former Salford winger, who had earlier claimed two magnificent high bombs under great defensive pressure.
But there was nothing Hodgson or his teammates could do four minutes before the break when Willie Talau kept the ball low to grubber kick ahead for Ashley Gibson to follow up and get the vital touch.
Holdsworth landed an excellent touchline conversion, and at 16-0 the home side were in complete control.
For the visitors to get back into the contest, it was vital they struck first at the start of the second period.
But it couldn’t have started any worse as they incredibly conceded their third try right from the kick-off.
Holdsworth kicked high, with the ball travelling the required 10m before catching the wind and bouncing within the 10.
It fell straight to the alert Holdsworth, who simply collected and had the strength to brush aside David Hodgson and stroll over under the posts and then land the conversion.
Only a fumble denied Salford a long-range score 10 minutes later as the Giants’ woes continued.
Then Brough chased back Stuart Littler with open space in front of him after the Reds’ man had charged down Brough’s attempted kick-through
But several plays later, the Giants were caught offside and Holdsworth made it six goals out of six.
From the restart, however, the visitors had their first piece of luck when Stefan Ratchford failed to keep the ball in play from the restart and, from the scrum, the position was created for Brown and Scott Grix to work the run-around for the stand-off’s long pass to put David Hodgson over in the corner, too far out for Brough to convert.
That temporarily breathed new life into the Giants, who looked well placed to capitalise on their score.
But as they pushed for a second, their Easter Monday nightmare continued as Brough’s pass fell to the floor and Ste Tyrer was the quickest to react and raced 80m for his side’s fourth converted try.
Huddersfield hit back four minutes later when Larne Patrick plunged over from close range for Brough to convert, and they almost cut the deficit on their next set when David Faiumu and Paul Whatuira sent Brown clear, but his tryscoring pass to Hodgson was ruled forward.
Cudjoe made sure the Giants weren’t denied with seven minutes remaining when Luke Robinson switched the play closer to the line and fed the acting full-back to dive in at the corner.
Then with two minutes remaining, Whatuira finished in the corner in front of a very healthy number of long-suffering Giants fans behind the posts.
But these late consolation scores failed to mask a thoroughly disappointing 80 minutes.Related content