Report: Giants match Leeds in Thorman’s first

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Huddersfield Giants 22-22 Leeds Rhinos

This afternoon Get ’em Onside ventured to two matches, the first of which was the Yorkshire derby between Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos which saw the teams share the points in a 22-22 draw.

In Chris Thorman’s maiden match in temporary control of the Giants, his charges hit their straps early. Danny Brough’s towering kick at the end of the host’s first set was claimed by Jack Walker who then knocked on in contact. The Giants quickly worked the ball out to their right edge and Jared Simpson – making his first appearance since the corresponding fixture last year following being recalled from Dewsbury – went over in the corner. He quickly doubled his tally as Huddersfield raced into a 12-0 lead.

Leeds didn’t start well and it took till around the twenty minute mark for the reigning Super League champions to put any real pressure on their hosts but, after 22 minutes, captain Kallum Watkins hit a good line and crossed to get Leeds back in the match. A 14-6 half time scoreline saw the Giants head to their first half time team talk from Thorman after demonstrating defensive solidity that had rarely been seen through Rick Stone’s tenure and they held a deserved lead.

A strong start to the second half from Leeds, however, saw the Giants lose their lead. Just three minutes into the second half, Ryan Hall crossed in the corner under pressure, finishing in a similar manner to his late try last week against Castleford. The was followed by a stroll over the line from a bang in-form Ash Handley and, when Watkins converted the second Leeds try of the half, the visitors took a 16-14 lead.

The 63rd minute of the match saw the lead change hands once more, though, as hooker Adam O’Brien crossed under the posts. It seemed that the Rhinos had enough men there to stop the ball being grounded yet the 24 year old provided Danny Brough with the opportunity to give the hosts a 20-16 lead – something which he duly did. Minutes later, he converted a penalty kick to give the Giants a lead which ensured Leeds needed two scores to take the two points.

It looked like the Rhinos would be leaving the John Smiths Stadium empty handed but Handley, a man coming off four tries in just two matches, had other things on his mind. As the ball was worked out to the left hand side, Handley’s footwork and pace saw him pierce the defending line and run the ball in close to the sticks. It provided Watkins with the opportunity to level the game at 22 all.

In the dying moments, both teams took attempts at drop goals. Huddersfield’s Jordan Rankin had a guilt edged chance from right in front of the posts but he edged it to the right of the sticks and, more ambitiously, with the hooter seconds away, Richie Myler had a long distance effort that was never close to giving Leeds the win.

Huddersfield: McIntosh, Simpson, Turner, Murphy, Senior, Rankin, Brough, Ikahihifo, O’Brien, Clough, Roberts, Lawrence, Hinchcliffe

Interchanges: Ta’ai, Smith, Dickinson, Hewitt

Leeds: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Hall, Moon, Myler, Mullally, Dwyer, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Delaney

Interchanges: Ferres, Smith, Oledzki, Golding

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