Huddersfield's brief taste of the Super League play-offs turned sour as Hull punished them for a collective attack of the dropsy which left them with too much to do despite a strong finish.
Two tries from Gareth Raynor helped Hull to line up a visit from Wigan next Saturday, but the Giants were their own worst enemy, squandering the ball repeatedly. Two tries in the last five minutes demonstrated what everybody knew – that there is no lack of character in Jon Sharp's squad – but they could not make up for the previous 75.
The Giants, in their first play-off, soon discovered that errors tend to be punished more quickly than in the regular season. When they conceded a penalty for offside, Hull chose to run and Raynor dived on to the ball after it had been kicked through by Mathew Head.
The second try, 90 seconds later, was guaranteed to enrage Giants fans. Paul Reilly was carrying the ball across field when he was flattened by a swinging arm from Garreth Carvell. Histeam-mates hesitated, expecting a penalty, only for Lee Radford to pick up the loose ball and send Tommy Lee over, Danny Tickle converting.
Fumbles by Chris Thorman and John Skandalis stopped Huddersfield attacks in their tracks. Brad Drew used his bag of tricks, but every initiative was undermined by poor handling. Typical was a move in the 37th minute as Drew opened up Hull on the right only for Reilly to knock on.
Stephen Wild was stopped on the line early in the second half, but the Giants scored in the 52nd minute, thanks to a thrilling run by Jamal Lolesi and Drew's return pass to Ryan Hudson.
Richard Whiting's interception threatened to restore Hull's lead immediately; Huddersfield settled for a penalty for holding down. The hosts visibly stepped up a gear and the Giants seemed to have killed off their own hopes when Kevin Brown's loose pass was picked off by Richard Horne, who went 50 metres to score. Willie Manu then had the ball ripped out for Raynor to pounce.
Reilly and Brown scored tries from Drew's kicks, but they were only a footnote to Huddersfield's wildly fluctuating fortunes in the campaign as Hull hung on to win. "If we'd had another couple of sets I think we'd have got them. We didn't lose, we ran out time," Sharp said. "We'll be better for the experience. We finished very strong and that was symbolic of the year."
Hull: Tony; Sing, Whiting, Yeaman, Raynor; Horne, Head; Dowes, Lee, Carvell, Radford, Manu, Tickle. Substitutes used: Godwin, Washbrook, Wheeldon, King.
Huddersfield: Thorman; Reilly, Lolesi, Nero, Jensen; Brown, Drew; Mason, Hudson, Skandalis, Raleigh, Jones, Wild. Substitutes used: Paul Griffin, Snitch, Crabtree.
Referee: A Klein (Keighley).Reuse content