11 September 2020 22:34
Leeds inflicted another one-point defeat on luckless Huddersfield as Luke Gale's drop goal sealed a 13-12 win at St Helens. In a game that didn't finish until 10.30pm due to the extra time in the preceding game and a long delay following an injury to Adam O'Brien, the Rhinos once again came out on top – little over a month since they stunned the Giants with a comeback to win 27-26. Though their comeback wasn't quite as dramatic as the one in that game, they still turned things around from a 10-0 half-time deficit to defy the pre-match distractions that saw them without seven players, all stood down due to coronavirus protocols. O'Brien was stretchered off after a failed attempt to burrow over the line from dummy half following a lengthy stoppage, which also saw referee Scott Mikalauskas replaced by James Child having lost his voice. Leeds got back in the contest five minutes in to the second half, Konrad Hurrell the beneficiary of a scrappy last tackle play and when Tom Briscoe walked in on 56 minutes, Luke Gale's conversion had the Rhinos 12-10 up.
Russell's third penalty of the evening squared things up, before Gale missed a penalty moments after the Rhinos had a try disallowed by the video referee. Gale then missed a drop goal before Robert Lui saved a try at the other end, and then Aiden Sezer missed the Giants' first attempt at a one-pointer. With five minutes to play, a knock-on by Darnell McIntosh gifted Leeds field position, and Gale took advantage, replicating the drop goal that led the Rhinos to glory at Headingley last month. Ashton Golding's try saving tackle kept the Giants in it, but they struggled to get back up the pitch, and they suffered their third one-point defeat in five outings since the restart. Leeds: Myler, Briscoe, Newman, Sutcliffe, Handley, Lui, Gale, Seumanufagai, Leeming, Cuthbertson, Thompson, Sutcliffe, Oledzki.
Huddersfield: Golding, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, McIntosh, Russell, Sezer, English, O'Brien, Lawrence, Edwards, Wardle, McQueen. Leeds Rhinos were dealt a late blow with the omission of seven players in a covid related issue. The late changes, and team disruption could galvanise the squad, or could play into the hands of a Giants side looking to avenge the Golden Point defeat which they suffered at Leeds hands in the opening round of the post-lockdown return. It was the perfect start for the Giants when Matty English managed to force the ball onto the ground after pushing his way over the line by the right upright. James Donaldson was held up over the line and as the ball was moved wide left Leeds were penalised for a forward pass. The referee was having a set restart party, penalising Leeds twice in quick succession.But on nineteen there was a long delay while Adam O'Brien was stretchered off the field after sustaining a neck injury. As O'Brien was carried off, James Child took over the refereeing duties from Scott Mikalauskas who had lost his voice. Referee Child awarded the penalty twenty out from the Leeds posts and Oliver Russell took the opportunity to add another two to the Giants tally. A terrible drop out from Richie Myler didn't make the ten, the Giants deciding to run the penalty but the Rhinos defence held firm and denied the Claret and Gold a second try. A thirty-fifth minute penalty enabled the Giants to extend the lead to 10-0 thanks to the boot of Russell, Huddersfield in full control of the game with the Rhinos having very little to offer in the face of an onslaught. After relentless pressure the Rhinos drew level on fifty five with Tom Briscoe going over in an acre of space wide right after he took a Myler miss-out pass. Luke Gale converted from wide to snatch the lead for the Rhinos. A high tackle by Lui on Russell gifted the Giants a penalty and the Giants scrum half levelled the scores at 12-12. Oliver Wilson lost the ball in the tackle returning the kick-off and Leeds then benefitted from a set restart and then a penalty for a ball steal on the line with Luke Gale opting to take the penalty kick but he pushed the ball wide of the near upright. Gale attempted a drop goal on sixty-seven but kicked wide of the posts. Sezer returned the compliment three minutes later, also failing to find the target with his attempted drop goal. Leeds took two tackles before feeding the ball back to Gale who slotted over the one-pointer. Four minutes from time and a terrific inside ball on the last play allowed Richie Myler to cross but he dropped the ball in the act of scoring under pressure from Ashton Golding, the video referee ruling out the four pointer. It was a frantic closing few minutes with both sides having chances to score four pointers but the Rhinos held on for a single point win, just like they recorded over the same opposition a few weeks ago. Rhinos: Myler, Briscoe T (T), Newman, Sutciffe L, Handley, Gale (2G, DG), Lui, Seumanufagai, Leeming, Cuthbertson, Thompson, Sutcliffe A, Oledzki. Giants: Golding, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle Jake, McIntosh, Russell (4G), Sezer, English (T, SB on 15), O'Brien, Lawrence, Edwards, Wardle Joe, McQueen. Leeds Rhinos 13 Huddersfield Giants 12: Luke Gale wins it again LUKE GALE'S 74th minute drop-goal made sure Leeds Rhinos' positive decision to actually play this game paid off. Leeds Rhinos' Luke Gale slots the winning drop goal (PIC: BRUCE ROLLINSON) It was even tougher on frustrated Huddersfield given they also lost to Rhinos by just a solitary point in their first game back after lockdown, Gale doing the damage then, too, Huddersfield, who gave a debut to former Queensland State of Origin back-row Chris McQueen at No13, got off to a solid start when Matty English barrelled his way over from close range in the fourth minute. Aidan Sezer converted but Leeds had their own pressure, too, forcing a series of set restarts with English eventually sin-binned, Leeds could not make the extra man count and there was also a significant delay during that 10 minute spell as Giants hooker Adam O'Brien received lengthy treatment after suffering a neck injury when attempting to burrow over from close range. Sezer, who had missed the last three games after straining a hamstring, handed kicking duties over to Olly Russell who slotted the two points. Leeds became erratic; Gale unsuccessfully trying to set Robert Lui free with a pass on the last tackle from inside his own half and Richie Myler seeing a drop-out not go 10m - and bounce back behind his own goalline. Sam Hewitt looked certain to score a second try for Giants but Dwyer's knee managed to knock the ball clear of his grapes at the critical moment. Still, his side did extend their lead before the break when Russell added a second penalty as Leeds were caught offside. It gave Rhinos a way back into the contest, though, when Giants centre Leroy Cudjoe failed to clean up a scrappy Dwyer grubber and the Rhinos hooker fed Konrad Hurrell for a gift try. Richie Myler floated a lovely cut-out pass to send Tom Briscoe in, Gale showing his class in the wretched conditions with the touchline conversion for a 12-10 lead on 55 minutes. Ironically, though, Briscoe spilled in his own 20m soon after to give Huddersfield some rare field position and, when Lui offered a high tackle, Russell levelled the contest. It left Gale with a difficult penalty which drifted narrowly wide and, under pressure from Huddersfield defenders, the England scrum-half saw a drop-goal attempt agonisingly miss, too. Leeds Rhinos: Myler; T Briscoe, Newman, L Sutcliffe, Handley; Lui, Gale; Seumanufagai, Leeming, Cuthbertson, Thompson, A Sutcliffe, Oledzki. Huddersfield Giants: Golding; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Jake Wardle, McIntosh; Russell, Sezer; English, O'Brien, Lawrence, Edwards, Joe Wardle, McQueen.