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Eighth placed Leeds Rhinos hosted Sixth placed Huddersfield Giants in a Round Eight encounter at Headingley as both sides looked to keep pace with the top of the table and avoid slipping further behind in the race for the spoils in 2024.

The bookies were going for a home win, but only just, as they gave the Rhinos a two-point handicap on the coupon with no-one suggesting that the Rhinos would rampage to the 54-0 scoreline that they registered the last time that the two sides met at Headingley in June 2023.

The Giants came into the game on the back of that massive Challenge Cup win over the Catalans Dragons last weekend, the Rhinos on the back of just one win in their last four outings.

Fifteen minutes of stalemate were broken by the Rhinos when Lachlan Miller took a Jake Connor kick on his own goal line before working his side from defence into attack, Paul Momirovaski on hand to take a Rhyse Martin flick pass to outfox the last line of defence and ground. Martin added the conversion to put the Rhinos 6-0 ahead.

Luke Yates was sin-binned on twenty-eight minutes for a swinging arm as he effected a tackle.

Another lightening fast break from the Rhinos was too much for the Giants as Leeds secured their second try of the game after David Fusitu’a grounded a Brodie Croft grubber to the corner to announce his return to the Leeds line up after a long layoff. Martin added the touchline conversion.

After the half time hooter had sounded, Jake Connor kicked a penalty goal for a high tackle in the dying seconds of the game. Leeds with a deserved ten-point lead at the interval in a game which they had bossed from the opening minute.

Five minutes of the second half had elapsed when the Giants put themselves right back in the game when Esam Marsters shrugged off three attempted tackles to dive in for Huddersfield’s first try of the game. Connor added the conversion to reduce the arrears to four points.

The Giants returned the kick-off with interest and after Adam Swift tied the Leeds defence in knots with an eighty-metre run to be hauled down just short of the line but a fast play the ball switched from left to right with Elliot Wallis scoring a spectacular try in the corner. Connor hit the post with his conversion attempt, the sides tied up at 12-12.

On fifty-one Leeds were back in front with a nice move as the ball was moved with right with Momirovski taking a Miller pass and crossing in the corner before rounding closer to the sticks. Martin added the conversion for an 18-12 Rhinos lead.

On fifty-five the Rhinos doubled the lead, Jarrod O’Connor taking a delightful pass from Matt Frawley to run on unopposed from ten metres out and score under the sticks. Martin hit the target again and they were back into a twelve-point lead.

Another brilliant Giants try on sixty-three put them back in the game with Adam Swift scoring one-handed by the left corner flag. Connor was well wide with his conversion attempt, Huddersfield still eight points adrift of the Rhinos but the game back in the balance.

Two minutes later a flowing move down the left attack from the Giants saw them in again with Swift putting in the final pass to Harvey Livett to dive over. Connor was again well wide with the conversion attempt, the two missed kicks from the Giants full-back meaning his side were still four points adrift.

A Luis Roberts error, knocking on a high kick, gifted the Giants position and possession and as the clock ticked into the last ten minutes Kevin Naiqama wrongfooted the Rhinos defenders and came inside to score and level the scores at 24-24. Connor again pulled the conversion attempt, the sides locked up with eight minutes remaining.

Miller was dragged into his own goal area after taking a Connor kick ten metres out and an awful Miller short drop out didn’t go ten metres and gifted Connor a penalty in front of the sticks to edge his side into the lead for the first time in the game.

On seventy-seven the Giants won the game as Adam Clune sprinted clear of the Leeds defence after Naiqama intercepted a Leeds pass and the ball ended up in the hands of the scrum half to go seventy metres to score. Connor was wide with the conversion, the Giants lead six points.

Miller was sin-binned for dissent in the dying seconds and the hooter sounded a win for the Giants as the home support showed their disgust for the Rhinos snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

A superb second half fightback for the Giants which saw them come from a ten-point deficit to secure a six-point win, despite Connor being off target with the boot on too many occasions. The teams remain where they were coming into the game in terms of league position, but it will be the Giants who took a massive confidence boost from the nature of the win and the Leeds side who will spend another week contemplating what should have been and how they let it get away from them.

Leeds Rhinos: Miller (SB on 79), Fusitu’a (T), Newman, Momirovski (2T), Roberts, Croft, Frawley, Oledzki, Ackers, Sangare, McDonnell, Martin (4G), Smith. Subs: Lisone, Nicholson-Watton, O’Connor (T), Goudemand. 18th Man: Edgell. 

Huddersfield Giants: Connor (2G), Swift (T), Marsters (T), Naiqama (T), Wallis (T), Lolohea, Clune (T), English, Milner, Greenwood, Cudjoe, Livett (T), Yates (SB on 28).  Subs: Golding, Wilson, Rushton, Ikahihifo. 18th Man: Russell.

Half-Time: 12-2.

Full-Time: 24-30.

Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, (SB), 10-0, 12-0, 12-2 : HT: 12-6, 12-8, 12-12, 16-12, 18-12. 22-12, 24-12, 24-16, 24-20, 24-24, 24-26, 24-30, (SB) :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Leeds – Square – Leeds – Square - Huddersfield.

Referee: Chris Kendall.  

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 19th Apr 2024 9:54 PM | Views : 5692 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES