For the second week running, yours truly blagged a freebie to an away game.
For the second week running, it still felt like an extortionate fee to watch the Wire put in an absolutely abject performance.
Fair enough, this was our third game in the space of 9 days, while Huddersfield were granted extra rest due to a football game or something, but this wasn’t a tired performance. It was an uninterested one.
Chris Hill, once again, can be absolved of the heavy criticism. He really is the only player who performs at a consistent standard anywhere near where we have come to expect.
He hits the gain line hard as fuck, he’s literally the only forward making yards these days, and always put in a shift in defence.
The rest? Fucking hell.
Very few even dared to look at Steven Broomhead as they trudged off the pitch at the end of the game. Even fewer had the balls to get too close to the hardy few who had stayed behind after the hooter.
We have now returned the point where half of the people that are still in the ground at the end of the game a) clap them off to prove they’re such a loyal fan or b) offer individual players out for a scrap on the car park.
Things were so bad that even the usually dependable Stefan Ratchford failed to make ten metres from a kick off.
Having got away with it the first time (Huddersfield collected the ball before it had gone the ten, meaning we get the penalty. It seems a few of the locals never knew that was the rule), he then failed to make touch from the resulting penalty.
If anything summed up our season in a nutshell, it was that.
Or maybe it was Kevin Penny tripping over his own feet trying to retrieve a booming Brough kick near the touchline.
Or him being in exactly the right position for a towering bomb from Brough, but with his confidence obviously shot, dropping the ball like a bad habit. Twice.
He didn’t have a good day, did Kev, but more heads were scratched at the decision to play him at full back than during the great head lice outbreak of St Bridget’s in ’96.
Especially when Stefan Ratchford was pushed out to centre to look as cold and bored as Jonathan Davies did on his return to rugby union in the same year the knit nurse recommended the National Front-style hair cut for most of our year 2 class.
Ratchford barely touched the ball during the first hour of the game, save for hitting the odd drop off from Brown, highlighting the dire lack of creativity currently plaguing our team.
Huddersfield’s gameplan in the first half seemed to be four strong drives, a deep kick from Brough pinning us in our own half and a solid line of defenders asking what the fuck Wire thought they were gonna do about it?
Fuck all, came the blunt reply.
Brough, as ever, kicked us to death and marshalled his team around the field like an army general.
He divides opinion, but you have to think if he was wearing primrose and blue on Sunday, we would have won that game, such is his influence over the team.
Each spiralling bomb, each precision kick to the corner, the forty-twenty… his kicking game alone would have improved us 100 per cent.
On the back of the territory advantage, the Scotland international took our line on, drawing in defenders and invariably finding the right man with a pass. Nothing flash, but always effective. Exactly what we are missing.
You could spot their tries a mile off. Brough to Gaskell to Mamo, try.
It was embarrassingly easy and when it wasn’t the backline spread, it was neat offload from Ferguson finding Turner or a simple hard line from one of their forwards (we’re not even going to look up who it was. Who cares at this point?) to stroll in untouched from close range.
For our part, we finally crossed for a try when Tom Lineham dived over in the corner after something resembled a backline spread, having come close twice in the first half – dragged into touch by the scruff of his neck and knocking a high kick back inside for Julien who couldn’t touch down – but it wasn’t even a consolation. One less time Nilling in the history of the club. Whoo-fucking-hoo.
It could have been an even worse scoreline, with Jake Mamo having a couple of tries chalked off.
Our entire season summised by the fact that we were grateful a couple of penalties stopped us being ripped apart by a fella who looks like Rodney when he tried on that pin-on pony tail to impress Casandra in an episode of Only Fools.