In a Nutshell
Leeds Rhinos lost at home for the first time this season, going down 22-24 to Huddersfield Giants at Headingley Carnegie.
How it unfolded
The Rhinos began the game with Ben Jones-Bishop replacing the suspended Zak Hardaker at fullback, while they were still without the injured Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and Paul Aiton.
Robbie Ward was selected to start as hooker, while Josh Walters, who made his debut in the Challenge Cup a week earlier against Leigh, was on the bench for his Super League debut, alongside Tom Briscoe’s younger brother Luke.
The Giants were without Leroy Cudjoe, who pulled out on the day of the game with illness, and hooker Shaun Lunt. Aaron Murphy moved into the centre, with Jodie Broughton coming into the side on the left wing.
Once again the Giants started a match slowly, as the Rhinos opened the scoring after five minutes with a try by Kallum Watkins, who stepped beautifully between Joe Wardle and Danny Brough to touch down.
Sinfield’s conversion gave Leeds a six-point lead, but then the Rhinos skipper blotted his copybook by kicking out on the full, giving the Giants the chance to get back into the game. And they did, when halfback Kyle Wood stepped through the Leeds defence for Brough to convert and level the scores.
After a Sinfield kick won a goal-line drop-out, the Rhinos moved the ball quickly to the left, and Joel Moon laid it back inside for Jones-Bishop to touch down, with Sinfield’s conversion restoring a six-point lead.
There were mistakes aplenty by both sides, but neither side scored again in the first half.
But it was a different story in the second, as the Giants posted three converted tries in ten minutes to take a 12-24 lead after 57 minutes.
Jermaine McGillvary got the first after a great tackle by Joe Wardle dislodged the ball from Jones-Bishop and the Giants spread the ball beautifully to the right.
And they took the lead when Eorl Crabtree scored under the posts from a Luke Robinson pass.
Wardle scored their fourth try after great work by Brett Ferres down the left.
But the Rhinos weren’t finished, and after Zeb Taia knocked on and then conceded a penalty, Ryan Bailey scored a try that, crucially, Sinfield couldn’t convert.
But on 66 minutes the Rhinos edged to within two points, when a Sinfield kick to the corner was not taken by Murphy, and Liam Sutcliffe pounced to touch down, with Sinfield adding the conversion from near touch.
The Giant thought they were safe when Brough landed his second 40-20 on 78 minutes, but in a thrilling final move of the game, the Rhinos kept the ball alive superbly and Tom Briscoe followed up a Joel Moon kick to the line and thought he had won the game.
However, the video referee ruled that he had pushed Brough out of the way when chasing the ball, and the try was disallowed.
It was the Giants fourth successive win in Super League at Headingley.
A full report of this game, analysis and photographs will appear in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.
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