COLUMN: Concerning times for Huddersfield

Rick Stone cut short his radio interview last night.

But in just over three minutes of dialogue with BBC Radio Leeds, the Huddersfield head coach made it abundantly clear that he was entirely unimpressed with his side’s display in their defeat to Catalans.

The Giants chief cut a frustrated figure during his media duties following the defeat, a result that leaves them without a win in seven matches.

He ended his final interview by saying: “They’ve just got to want it enough basically, they’ve got to want to do it enough, and obviously there’s not enough want there, it’s as simple as that.”

It is the first time that Stone has questioned his players in such a manner since joining the club nine months ago. A usually level-headed, considered analysis was replaced with an angry, scathing critique of the night.

His annoyance was easy to understand, too.

The Giants were, once again, out of sorts. Although they showed glimpses of promise early on, they once again failed to control a game that was there for the taking.

Things looked good after a strong start, but from the moment they opened the scoring through Aaron Murphy, a lack of composure and intelligence meant they were the masters of their own downfall.

It isn’t the first time that has been said, either. They had enough possession to win two games against Leigh last month but ended up being hammered 30-0. Against Leeds, they continued to gift the Rhinos chances with errors and penalties, which resulted in a 16 point defeat. But last night was in many ways the worst, as Catalans simply performed the basics to earn victory at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The most concerning thing for Stone is this is a persisting issue that on one hand should be easy to fix, but is also a long-standing problem that they do not seem capable of overcoming.

Stone guided Huddersfield to safety last year, but their recent performances suggest they will be in the Qualifiers again.

Jake Mamo’s long-awaited debut gave the Giants more impetus with the ball, but their failure to complete sets meant they never got to see the best out of him.

Stone has yet to field his best team, given that Mamo has only just returned from an ankle injury. Perhaps the bigger concern, however, is that he does not yet know what his best team is.

Danny Brough and Lee Gaskell played in the halves against Catalans, a combination that has yet to produce a victory for the Giants, while the two have both played alongside Ryan Brierley. However, even that disruption does not excuse the manner of the shortcomings riddled among the Huddersfield team.

Brough himself had a night to forget with two of passes being intercepted and his sin-binning for dissent. But the problems are coming from all over the pitch. They aren’t giving themselves a chance.

On recent evidence, a second successive year in the bottom four looks almost inevitable for the Giants, a less than ideal position for the club.

But it is a reality they face unless things change quickly.