FRUSTRATED Danny Brough accused Hull FC of conning referee Chris Kendall but conceded he was also partly to blame himself for Huddersfield Giants’ 14-10 defeat.
The Fartowners finished the regular season in eighth spot after slipping to the narrow loss at KCOM Stadium on Friday.
They were already assured of avoiding the Qualifiers before kick-off but had hoped to continue their recent form and make ground on the top-four before the Super 8s.
However, despie their hosts being far from fluent, Rick Stone’s side failed to apply much pressure on the Challenge Cup holders at all and lost for only the second time in eight games.
Stand-off Brough said: “I thought it was a really poor game.
“I don’t think it was refereed great. It was slow in patches and then sped up when it suited him.
“They got a lot of penalties out of their 10 yard area which killed us; people diving on the floor and losing the ball on purpose and getting a penalty against us is frustrating.
“But we weren’t smart either. Myself, as a half-back, take most responsibility for that for a bit of a poor kicking game and lack of execution at big stages of the game.
“It was there for the taking but we just didn’t quite click.”
The West Yorkshire club are now five points adrift of both fourth-placed Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity in fifth heading into the Super 8s.
So, can Huddersfield still challenge for a semi-final spot?
“We probably could but would have to see someone in the top-four lose more games than they win and I can’t see that happening,” added Scotland captain Brough, who led Giants to the League Leaders’ Shield in 2013.
“But we are there to cause some upsets along the way and try mix up the top-four.
“We’re playing with nothing to lose but on the same hand we have to be committed to what we do and play to our own potential.
“We’re safe and obviously that was the first and foremost target of the season.
“Now there should be no pressure and we should go out and enjoy it.
“There’s going out and enjoying it, though, and enjoying it and doing it well which is the main key for us.”