Huddersfield Giants won Head Coach Ian Watson’s first match in charge after a 22-16 victory over Leeds Rhinos at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants opened the scoring after nine minutes after Lee Gaskell found Aidan Sezer with a clever kick, who went through and scored. Sezer scored the conversion for a six-point advantage.
Just a couple of minutes later, the Giants were forced into a change, as fullback Olly Ashall-Bott came off with an injury. Jack Cogger ended up coming on for his debut, with Gaskell dropping to fullback.
Leeds got back into it before the half-hour, as Jack Broadbent intercepted a stray pass and ran the length of the field to score. Rhys Martin couldn’t add the extras, meaning they trailed by two points.
However, they were not back in it for long, as Darnell McIntosh scored in the corner to extend Huddersfield’s lead. Sezer was off target with the conversion attempt, meaning there was still only one try in it.
Huddersfield made sure they had more than a one try lead going into half-time, as Cogger intercepted and ran through to score. Sezer was back on target to extend their lead to 12 points.
The hosts struck first in the second half, as Kenny Edwards’ brilliant pass out wide found Louis Senior, who scored in the corner. Olly Russell kicked the conversion to extend the Giants’ lead to 22-4.
However, Leeds were not done. A nice pass from Broadbent found Luke Briscoe, who scored out wide. Martin scored the conversion to get the Rhinos into double figures.
Things got really interesting when Leeds grabbed another with just under 10 minutes to go. Liam Sutcliffe attacked the line and got over. Martin added the conversion to leave them just one try behind.
Leeds thought they had got the final try they needed when King Vuniyawa charged towards the line, only to be thwarted by a brilliant try-saving tackle from Aidan McGowen.
It meant Huddersfield held on, which would have been a welcome relief after their last two games against them saw them throw away leads in the second half. They now have a week off before they face Hull FC in their first Super League clash.
As for Leeds, their young side definitely gave Huddersfield a match, particularly in the second half. They face Wakefield Trinity in their first Super League match.
Huddersfield Giants: Oliver Ashall-Bott, Jermaine McGillvary, Jake Wardle, Ricky Leutele, Darnell McIntosh, Lee Gaskell, Aidan Sezer, James Gavet, James Cunningham, Michael Lawrence, Joe Greenwood, Chris McQueen, Josh Jones.
Subs: Sam Wood, Luke Yates, Jack Cogger, Kenny Edwards, Jack Ashworth, Ronan Michael, Oliver Wilson, Leroy Cudjoe, Aidan McGowen, Oliver Russell, Louis Senior, Owen Trout, Kieran Rush.
Head Coach: Ian Watson.
Leeds Rhinos: Ash Handley, Tom Briscoe, Corey Hall, Jack Broadbent, Luke Briscoe, Liam Sutcliffe, Richie Myler, Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming, James Donaldson, Sam Walters, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith.
Subs: Brad Dwyer, King Vuniyawa, Bodene Thompson, Liam Tindall, Jarrod O’Connor, Levi Edwards, Morgan Gannon.
Head Coach: Richard Agar.