The Rhinos overpowered the Giants in a bottom of the table clash at Headingley .
Leeds moved off the bottom of the table with a dominant win over fellow strugglers Huddersfield. The Rhinos started off stronger, and ended the half 30-0 up.
The Rhinos continued the momentum they had built up in last week’s 78-6 win, over third tier Workington Town in the Challenge Cup. Hooker Brad Dwyer was instrumental in Leeds’ early start, even grabbing a try. While tries from Tui Lolohea, James Donaldson and Richie Myler effectively ended the contest at the 40 minute mark.
Given Leeds’ terrible start to the season, the performance will have been pleasing, especially to a home crowd at Emerald Headingley. Coupled with this is the fact that the Rhinos escaped without any injury worries; a rarity for the team this season. However prop Nathan Peteru was sin binned in the second half, and could possibly miss Monday’s game against Wakefield Trinity.
There were some positives for the Giants despite the heavy defeat, with Akuila Uate carving open the Rhino’s defence to go over for a try in the second half, followed by tries from Adam O’Brien and Darnell McIntosh, who this week signed a deal keeping him at the John Smith’s Stadium until 2021. This showcased the defensive issues the Rhinos have struggled with this season.
However winger Ash Handley, currently Super League’s top try-scorer, crossed the line with less than 10 minutes to play, to wrap up a memorable win that will hopefully be a building block to escape the relegation battle that is becoming tighter every week.
Leeds can play under Furner
Many critics had been pointing out in recent weeks – the Rhinos’ lack of energy on both sides of the ball. Many had claimed that David Furner would not be able to get the players firing and some were even calling on the Rhinos to bring in former nemesis Shaun Wane. However the team showed what they are capable of on Friday.
Huddersfield still in the battle at the bottom
Huddersfield are a team lacking consistency at the moment, and their performances change drastically from week to week. While in some games they look certain for a top eight spot, their under-performing at times has left their Super League survival in question. While they are a side good enough to stay up, results like this are sure to worry Giants fans.
Bank holiday fixtures here to stay
While many criticise the quick turnaround of fixtures over Easter weekend, with the mental and physical strain it puts on players and coaches, the attendance record set in Super League is sure to keep the fixtures around for the time being.
Hurrell not the only key Rhino
A lot has been asked of Konrad Hurrell since he pulled on the blue and amber, with Leeds relying on him for much of their attacking momentum. However this week he was able to have a quieter game due to the hard work of those around him. This can only be good as it will keep him fresh and avoid any unnecessary injuries to the star centre, who has very quickly become a fan favourite at Headingley Stadium.
Leeds Rhinos 38
Tries: Lolohea, Donaldson, Dwyer, Myler, Briscoe, Handley
Goals: Sutcliffe (6), Lolohea
Huddersfield Giants 18
Tries: Uate, O’Brien, McIntosh
Goals: Russell (3)
Leeds: Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Myler, Lolohea, Dwyer, Sutcliffe, Ferres, Peteru, Donaldson, Newman, Albert
Subs: Parcell, Oledzki, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan
Huddersfield Giants: McIntosh, McGillvary, Turner, Uate, Frawley, Leeming, Matagi, Murphy, Ta’ai, Jake Wardle, Russell, Hewitt, Joe Wardle
Subs: Clough, Lawrence, O’Brien, Ikahihifo