Friday’s trip to champions Leeds Rhinos was seen as the most likely stumbling block for Paul Anderson’s side, who had won all four of their opening Super League games.
However, instead it was their fellow West Yorkshire rivals, with the magical Jarrod Sammut scoring a bizarre hat-trick to garner excellent Bradford’s first away victory, that yesterday brought the leaders shuddering to a halt.
Built on solid foundations with the unrelenting efforts of tireless forwards like Nick Scruton, Elliott Whitehead and Chev Walker, they completely nullified a Giants pack that had been earning rave reviews.
With Australian full-back Brett Kearney injecting his usual pace and maverick scrum-half Sammut doing just what he does best, Bradford capitalised fully as Huddersfield delivered a performance as erratic and uncoordinated as you are likely to see.
Anderson described it both as a “fiasco” and “embarrassing” as his error-prone side self-imploded with alarming regularity.
For the first time this term, they were without talismanic half-back Danny Brough, who was nursing a bruised chest, but Giants cannot lay all the blame for this sorry defeat on his absence.
Anderson was pushing it too much when he said their captain would have made “absolutely zero difference to that fiasco” but, undoubtedly, their midfield playmakers – whichever combination was striving – never really clicked.
The abject Scott Grix had one of those utterly miserable afternoons, in both attack and defence, where he must have just wanted the ground to swallow him up.
It is painful to pinpoint one individual, but so much of Bradford’s best moments came directly from his mistakes whether it be some woeful kicking, some erratic passing or two glaring errors that gifted Sammut the first two of his treble.
He fumbled a grubber that ricocheted back to the Bull in the third minute and then, early in the second period, could only watch on in disbelief as Sammut stole possession off him on his own line to get his second.
Jamie Foster’s fifth of seven conversions put the visitors 30-12 ahead and, though Grix’s hanging kick saw Shaun Lunt profit with a try that raised hopes soon after, Huddersfield merely invited their opponents straight back in, 19-year-old hooker Adam O’Brien scoring with his first touch through some woeful defence in the 53rd minute.
It meant that when Sammut juggled the ball to dive over for his treble after the hooter had sounded, having already added a drop-goal, ecstatic Bulls fans had long been celebrating this memorable win.
“We started really well and we needed to after last week,” said Bradford coach Francis Cummins, who had seen his side bulldozed by St Helens.
“If you get a good start you get a bit of momentum. We knew they would come back, but we were able to put a few more punches on the chin.
“I’m really pleased with how they performed. We know what sort of team we are. If we’ve got everybody 100 per cent sticking to what we do, we can cause people a bit of trouble.
“I’m really proud of how hard they worked.”
Warrington loanee Matty Blythe got his fourth try of the season after Huddersfield failed to deal with Danny Addy’s kick in the 10th minute and, though the hosts found enough cohesion to strike back through Joe Wardle and David Faiumu, Addy then twisted out of Luke Robinson’s weak tackle for Foster to make it 18-10.
Kearney darted through for another soon after, Grix unable to hold him up, and all Huddersfield could do was add Grix’s penalty on half-time to stay in touch.
He and England centre Leroy Cudjoe both flitted between full-back and half-back to offset the loss of Brough, but neither with any positive effect, while Robinson was unusually subdued in his 300th career appearance and even the introduction of hooker Lunt off the bench brought little improvement to their direction.
Bradford remained resolute, organised and ruthlessly efficient while their former prop Craig Kopczak spilled his first pass with no one near him much to the amusement of the travelling fans.
It was the sort of basic mistake that would characterise Huddersfield’s display.
“Some of the errors we came up with were childish,” conceded Anderson. “It robbed us of energy, but it was a combination of what’s happened over the last few weeks.
“We gave the ball away against Wigan and Wakefield and just got through the games, but, if you keep doing that, eventually you are going to get burnt.
“Bradford got what they deserved and we got what we deserved. There was a real distinct lack of urgency with the ball and if we think we’re that good a team we can win without it, then we’re kidding ourselves.”
Huddersfield: Cudjoe; McGillvary, Murphy, Wardle, George; Grix, Robinson; Crabtree, Faiumu, Kopczak, Ferres, Chan, Ta’ai. Substitutes: Lunt, Patrick, Cording, Mullally.
Bradford: Kearney; Kear, Blythe, Lulia, Foster; Sammut, Addy; Scruton, L’Estrange, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Whitehead, Walker. Substitutes: O’Brien, Sidlow, Langley, Donaldson.
Referee: J Child (Dewsbury).