Huddersfield Giants rediscovered their winning form as they overcame Leeds Rhinos with a 21-12 triumph at the John Smith’s Stadium. Joe Greenwood and Will Pryce re-entered the 18-man squad on Derby Day, aiming to conquer Leeds Rhinos on their home turf.
The match began energetically, with Jake Connor capitalising on a loose pass that left the Rhinos’ defence in disarray. He executed a skilful pass to send Sam Halsall over the try line in the corner. Olly Russell successfully converted, and another score swiftly followed.
Leeds’ lack of discipline proved costly, enabling us to advance up the field. As Kevin Naiqama found himself tackled by three Rhinos defenders, he managed to extend his arm and ground the ball, the tackle not being concluded.
The first half continued to be fruitful for the Giants. Ash Handley fumbled a kick from Tui Lolohea, who then chased his own kick and managed to score by a hair’s breadth.
Following sustained pressure from the Giants, Leeds gained momentum towards the end of the half. With only seven minutes left, skilful play on the final tackle allowed Luke Hooley to exploit a gap and narrow the gap to 16-6.
At the half-time whistle, Ash Handley touched down in the corner. However, after Esan Marsters appeared to have scored in the same area, it was determined that he had lost control of the ball. Sam Hewitt was also temporarily sent off.
The teams entered the break with a score of 16-12, the Giants’ substantial lead eroded by a lacklustre final 10 minutes.
Ian Watson’s team, undeterred, commenced the second half with determination and focus. As Leeds endeavoured to seize the lead, a series of offloads propelled them through the Giants’ defence. They mounted four consecutive sets near the try line but were unable to breach it due to a forward pass, initiated by Cameron Smith, hampering their progress.
Undeterred, they pressed on. Sam Halsall attempted to halt Sam Lisone but was tackled high and temporarily left the field for a Head Injury Assessment, eventually making a return.
As the match approached its conclusion, and with limited notable chances for the Giants, we were granted a penalty that Will Pryce successfully converted, extending the lead to 18-12.
In the final four minutes, Jake Connor added a drop goal, pushing the score to 19-12 and providing the Giants with a two-score cushion. Ian Watson’s team were on the verge of securing the two points.
In their eagerness to regain possession, Leeds opted for a short kick-off, but Esan Marsters caught the ball. We advanced up the field and received a penalty, which Will Pryce converted to secure the victory.