Huddersfield Giants turned around the club’s fortunes tonight as they triumphed 12-31 against Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.
The Rhinos had brought back Tom Briscoe, Matt Parcell, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Stevie Ward, Brett Delaney and Anthony Mullally into their squad after their Challenge Cup victory over Doncaster, but teenager Jack Walker was retained at fullback after impressing on debut against Doncaster.
Huddersfield coach brought Danny Brough back into the side after his suspension, while Jake Mamo, Jermaine McGillvary, Ryan Hinchcliffe and Paul Clough all returned after being rested for the Challenge Cup defeat to Swinton. Second rower Dale Ferguson was back from injury, and Matthew English and Adam O’Brien retained their places after making their debuts against the Lions.
The Huddersfield club had suffered a tragedy two days earlier with the sudden death of Chairman Ken Davy’s wife Jennifer, and the Giants players wore black armbands in her memory.
In the early stages of the game it didn’t look promising for them, as Rhinos hooker Matt Parcell scooted over the line from dummy-half, with Kallum Watkins kicking an easy goal. But when Jake Mamo touched down an Alex Mellor grubber, closely followed by Kruise Leeming replicating Parcell’s effort from dummy-half, the Giants led 6-12 after Brough kicked both conversions.
The Rhinos responded when Joel Moon scored on the zero tackle after a Giants mistake and good word by Ward and Walker. Watkins’ goal meant that the scores were level 12-12 at half-time.
In the second half, however, spurred on by Brough’s superb kicking game, the Giants dominated the game, adding three tries by Dale Ferguson, Darnell McIntosh and Oliver Roberts, with Brough adding the conversion and a field-goal for a victory that will do a great deal to restore morale for the Giants, who gathered with their supporters around a banner after the game that paid tribute to Jennifer Davy, who had enjoyed great popularity with everyone involved with the Giants club.
Rhinos: 31 Jack Walkr, 2 Tom Briscoe, 3 Kallum Watkins, 22 Ash Handley, 5 Ryan Hall, 6 Danny McGuire (C), 4 Joel Moon, 20 Anthony Mullally, 9 Matt Parcell, 8 Keith Galloway, 11 Jamie Jones-Buchanan, 15 Brett Delaney, 10 Adam Cuthbertson; Subs: 7 Rob Burrow, 13 Stevie Ward, 16 Brad Singleton, 17 Mitch Garbutt.
Tries: Parcell, Moon; Goals: Watkins 2
Giants: 1 Jake Mamo, 2 Jermaine McGillvary, 30 Alex Mellor, 5 Aaron Murphy, 24 Darnell McIntosh, 23 Sam Wood, 6 Danny Brough, 15 Sebastine Ikahihifo, 14 Kruise Leeming, 10 Shannon Wakeman, 16 Oliver Roberts, 12 Dale Ferguson, 9 Ryan Hinchcliffe; Subs: 18 Paul Clough, 20 Daniel Smith, 29 Matty English, 31 Adam O’Brien.
Tries: Mamo, Leeming, Ferguson, McIntosh, Roberts; Goals: Brough 5; Field goals: Brough (67)
A full report & photos from today’s game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.