It was almost two months ago that Huddersfield hammered Catalans Dragons. Kevin Walters was under considerable pressure, his side’s season slowly heading towards an end and their chances of reaching the play-offs virtually an inconceivable idea.
Fast-forward to the present and his side are now just eighty minutes from reaching their first ever Super League Grand Final after beating the same Giants outfit at the Galpharm Stadium, although Leeds or St Helens provide the massive hurdle that now awaits them in the next round.
It was a small shock when Walters’ men beat Wakefield at the Hearwell Stadium last week, but nobody gave them an hope of overcoming a much stronger and more consistent Huddersfield side.
The returning Keith Mason and Scott Moore bolstered the Giants’ ranks after their respective suspensions, although for Moore, it could have been his last game with Huddersfield as his loan period expires and he returns to St Helens.
The opening quarter was a bruising encounter – Jamahl Lolesi leaving the field through injury – and referee Steve Ganson particularly prominent with the whistle.
Huddersfield searched for a way back into the game but found their moves ended by their own mistakes.
They did rectify this prior to the half-time interval to give themselves a narrow advantage, the nippy scrum-half Luke Robinson dancing his way through the Catalans ranks to score under the posts. Brett Hodgson converted.
But the second-half belonged to the Dragons who breathed fire back into their season, whilst for Huddersfield it was a sad and bitter end to a successful campaign that saw them reach the Challenge Cup Final.
It took 22 minutes of the second-half for either side to post any more points, this time coming courtesy of Catalans winger Dimitri Pelo.
The wingman supplied a neat kick and chase for himself in the corner and superb half-back Thomas Bosc tagged on the extras.