Leeds Rhinos complete remarkable comeback against Huddersfield Giants in one-point thriller

LEEDS RHINOS completed a remarkable comeback to take home two points against a Huddersfield Giants side buoyed by great performances from Tui Lolohea and Jake Connor.

Huddersfield started the brighter of the two sides, crossing first in just the fourth minute. After James Bentley stuck out a foot to a Jake Connor kick, the Huddersfield fullback picked up and offloaded to Tui Lolohea who managed to feed Jermaine McGillvary in at the corner. Connor couldn’t convert though as the visitors led 4-0.

It was two in three minutes for the visitors as Chris McQueen went over off a great short pass from Chris Hill. Connor this time converted to make it 10-0.

With Connor in the mood, his brilliant grubber kick was caught by McGillvary who was adjudged to have been tripped by Richie Myler on his way to the line in the 15th minute.

Myler was handed a yellow card with Naiqama almost crawling over on the next tackle. However, Leeds held out and almost had a try of their own, but Nene MacDonald was forced into touch by a great McGillvary try-saver.

Connor added a penalty moments later for a 12-0 lead when Leeds were found to be offside.

However, the Rhinos slowly but surely made their way into the game and finally cracked open the Huddersfield defence with six minutes to go until the break.

Choosing to run the last tackle, Leeds shifted the ball left where Ash Handley was able to go over unopposed in the corner. Rhyse Martin couldn’t convert though as Huddersfield led 12-4.

A spell of prolonged Leeds possession failed to yield any more points with Naiqama breaking up the field and that laid the platform for Connor to slot over a drop goal on the hooter for a 13-4 lead.

Both sides made errors at the beginning of the second forty minutes, but a six again and a penalty gave Leeds a good opportunity strike first.

And they did just that with James McDonnell striding through a huge gap to cap off an impressive display after Martin kept the ball alive. The second-rower, however, couldn’t convert again as Huddersfield now led 13-8.

The comeback was complete, however, when following a stellar Newman break, Leeds had their third try of the night with Austin finding Martin out wide on his own on 55 minutes. Aidan Sezer took over the kicking duties but he too missed as Leeds trailed 13-12.

With the vociferous Headingley crowd behind them, the hosts took the lead for the first time as the hour approached.

A Sezer kick was spilled by McGillvary and with Lolohea failing to grasp possession, Cameron Smith won the race to the bouncing ball. Martin this time converted to make it 18-13 and complete the turnaround.

It had been all the Rhinos in the second-half, but a touch of class from the visitors meant Ian Watson’s men were just one point behind with 11 minutes to go.

Out of nothing, Lolohea got the Giants on the front foot, skipping through weak Leeds defence before Connor prodded a super kick through for McQueen to grab his second of the night. Connor, however, couldn’t convert as Leeds led 18-17.

And after Lolohea missed with a vital drop goal to level the game, Leeds held on for a priceless two points.

Leeds Rhinos

1 Richie Myler
4 Nene MacDonald
3 Harry Newman
12 Rhyse Martin
5 Ash Handley
6 Blake Austin
7 Aidan Sezer
8 Mikolaj Oledzki
14 Jarrod O’Connor
18 Tom Holroyd
11 James Bentley
19 James McDonnell
13 Cameron Smith
10 Zane Tetevano
15 Sam Lisone
17 Justin Sangare
26 Corey Johnson
Also in 21-man squad
22 Sam Walters
23 Liam Tindall
25 James Donaldson
31 Leon Ruan

Tries: Handley, McDonnell, Martin, Smith
Goals: Martin 1/3, Sezer 0/1

Huddersfield Giants

32 Will Pryce
2 Jermaine McGillvary
3 Esan Marsters
4 Kevin Naiqama
24 Sam Halsall
1 Jake Connor
6 Tui Lolohea
8 Chris Hill
9 Nathan Peats
15 Matty English
12 Chris McQueen
22 Harvey Livett
13 Luke Yates
16 Harry Rushton
18 Sebastine Ikahihifo
19 Adam O’Brien
27 Jack Ashworth
Also in 21-man squad
5 Jake Bibby
17 Owen Trout
21 Leroy Cudjoe
23 Olly Russell

Tries: McGillvary, McQueen 2
Goals: Connor 2/4
Field goals: Connor (40)