SUPERB Huddersfield Giants could not have made a more spectacular start under new coach Jon Sharp.
Against the strongest side Castleford Tigers coach Graham Steadman could have fielded, Sharp's qnew-look squad simply destroyed their outclassed opponents.
Obviously, the real test will come three weeks down the track when the sides meet again in the opening Super League fixture, again at the McAlpine.
But if last night is anything to go by, the Huddersfield fans are in for a real treat.
The Giants looked stronger, sharper and fitter than their shellshocked visitors, who were simply unable to deal with the threat posed by their hosts.
In fact, it would be no exaggeration to say the margin of the Huddersfield victory could have been far greater.
Apart from one brief scare in the opening half when hooker Wayne Goodwin was held up magnificently on the line, the Tigers never once looked like breaching the home side's watertight defence.
At the other end, however, the Giants scored six well-executed tries and `bombed' at least three other good opportunities.
Despite Sharp fielding all five of his new signings, Huddersfield were almost immediately gelled into a well-organised unit, with options available all over the field.
Part of that is obviously down to the hard work put in by Sharp and his coaching team during pre-season training.
But it was also down to the immediate effectiveness of all his new faces.
Within minutes former Halifax hooker Sean Penkywicz was underlining his undoubted potential with numerous punishing darts from dummy half.
His first-half try was the very least he deserved for a sparkling display.
Fellow ex-Halifax teammate Stuart Donlan was also quick off the mark, and it didn't take him too long to get the better of former Great Britain ace Paul Newlove in their centre duel.
In the pack, Newlove's former Saints colleague, Stuart Jones, demonstrated pace and power with a number of telling breaks, while second-row partner Chris Nero became far more effective the longer the game progressed.
Former Rochdale Hornets captain Paul Smith also impressed during a 25-minute second-half spell, suggesting it won't be long before he is playing to his potential.
But the Giants `old boys' were determined not to be totally outdone, with every member of last year's squad catching the eye for some aspect of their play, either in attack or defence - or both.
What must have been particularly pleasing for Sharp was the ease with which Brandon Costin switched from the backs to loose-forward and the way Ben Roarty punished the Tigers by starting in the front row rather than in the second.
Yet almost inevitably it was Stanley Gene who made the first major impact on the game, executing a perfect reverse kick close to the line for Paul Reilly to run through and for Costin to add the first of his five conversions.
That came after just seven minutes, and by the 19th minute the lead had been doubled as Penkywicz raced on to Costin's neat pass close to the line to stroll over under the posts.
Jones and Gene almost created golden tryscoring chances for teammates towards the end of the half.
But in the second half, the Giants stepped up a further gear.
Unfortunately, the broken leg suffered by Paul White in the 50th minute took the shine off the triumph, particularly as he was looking exceptionally lively in the unnacustomed role of hooker as Penkywicz took a breather.
Yet the Giants were still able to score four memorable tries.
Marcus St Hilaire set the ball rolling, breaking from deep and setting up the position for Costin to kick-through for Paul March to touch down.
Then St Hilaire did even better as he collected a bomb behind his own line, accepted a quick tap on the 20 and then beat the cover with electric pace to finish under the sticks.
That made it 24-0 in the 52nd minute, and by the 80th minute the lead was 36.
While Tigers half-back Jon Hepworth was in the sin-bin for punching, Ben Cooper added try No5 with a spectacular solo try combining great footwork and ligntning pace.
And then in the final seconds St Hilaire fed Matthew Whittaker for a try, which march converted in the absence of the resting Costin.
All in all, it was a fantastic job well done.
Huddersfield Giants: Reilly; O'Hare, Donlan, Bailey, St Hilaire; Gene, March; Fleary, Penkywicz, Roarty, Nero, Jones, Costin. Subs (all used): White, Slicker, Gannon, Smith, Morrison, Whittaker, Crabtree, Cooper.
Tries: Reilly (7mins), Penkywicz (19mins), March (48mins), St Hilaire (52mins), Cooper (70mins), Whittaker (77mins).
Goals: Costin 5 from 5, March 1 from 1.
Castleford Tigers: Saxton; Pryce, Maloney, Newlove, Rogers; Hepworth, Sheridan; Greenhill, Godwin, Sykes, Harland, Ryan, Hudson. Subs (all used): Rudder, Gibson, Smith, Lunt, Huby, Thackray, Jackson.
Referee: Robert Connolly (Wigan).
Scrums won: Giants 10, Tigers 12.
Pens conceded: Giants 7, Tigers 8.