2 Aug 2019

THE LOWDOWN: WEST YORKSHIRE DERBY

All the information that you need to know ahead of this evening’s West Yorkshire derby between the Huddersfield Giants and the Leeds Rhinos.

By Jack Robinson

The Brief

This is the biggest clash between the two rivals in a few years, we know a win will take us to four points above the drop-zone, whilst a win for the Rhinos will move both sides level on points, with just five games left. If the Giants lose, we could be joint bottom with the Rhinos by the end of the weekend.

The Opposition

The Rhinos have won eight of their 23 Betfred Super League games so far in 2019.

The season started back in February for Leeds, they were forced to play their opening four fixtures away from home, as their stadium redevelopment was completed. They were beaten 26-6 at the Warrington Wolves in their first fixture of the season. Another trip to the North West followed, but the Rhinos were once again beaten, this time 34-16 by reigning champions, Wigan. Leeds got their first win of the season in week three, beating the Salford Red Devils 46-14. A fourth successive trip to the North West followed, as the Saints beat the Rhinos 27-22 at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

March saw Leeds play their first game at their new redeveloped home, Wakefield Trinity crashed the party though, beating the Rhinos 35-18 at Headingley. A 34-10 defeat in East Yorkshire at Hull FC followed. Newly promoted London Broncos then beat the Rhinos in Yorkshire, winning 18-16. A 26-22 defeat in the South of France followed, before they got their first, and only, win of March, beating the Castleford Tigers 21-20, their first win at their newly developed stadium.

They opened April with another defeat in East Yorkshire, losing 45-26 at Hull KR. A massive 78-6 win over Workington Town in the Challenge Cup followed. In our only other fixture with the Rhinos this season, we were beaten 38-18. Wakefield Trinity then got another win over the Rhinos, winning 26-24 in West Yorkshire. Leeds got back onto winning terms the following week, avenging their defeat at Hull KR by winning 28-24 in West Yorkshire.

Another disappointing start to the month saw Leeds beaten 28-16 by the Salford Red Devils. The were then shocked in the Challenge Cup, as local rivals Bradford beat them 24-22. Castleford then avenged their narrow loss to the Rhinos earlier on in the season, winning 30-8 at Headingley. The Rhinos then ended May by getting revenge for their defeat to the London Broncos earlier on in the season, winning 24-22.

June started off better for Leeds, as they won 10-0 at Wakefield in a game that was played in torrid conditions. The following week, Wigan beat Leeds 23-14 in West Yorkshire.

Form

Both sides have managed two wins in their last five games, as they look to get some consistency together to avoid the drop.

In the penultimate week of June, both sides were beaten. We were defeated 38-22 at home by Wigan, whilst the Rhinos were beaten 36-10 by their rivals, St Helens.

Both sides had different results the following week. The Rhinos beat the Catalans Dragons 31-12 at Headingley, whilst the Giants were beaten 36-10 by Wakefield.

Both sides then won their following games. We beat the Salford Red Devils 36-18 in Greater Manchester, whilst Leeds won at Yorkshire rivals Castleford, 18-10.

Three weeks ago, we nearly fought back to beat the Catalans Dragons, but were beaten 32-28, whilst Leeds were beaten 32-16 at home by relegation rivals, Hull KR.

The Rhinos were then beaten by Rovers’ rivals, Hull FC, two weeks ago, 26-24. Meanwhile, we got a huge win by beating Hull KR 19-12 in East Yorkshire.

Key Players

Jack Walker

Leeds academy product, Jack Walker, has already featured over 50 times for the Rhinos, at 19. The fullback has played in 16 of the Rhinos’ 23 Betfred Super League so far this season, he has scored seven tries, also assisting a further five.

Walker has made 1912 metres so far this season, an average gain of 8.42 metres per carry. The fullback has also made 103 tackle busts so far this year.

Kruise Leeming

Giants hooker Kruise Leeming, has featured in 22 of the Giants’ 23 Betfred Super League games so far this season. He has scored six tries in 2019, as well as adding eleven assists.

Leeming had made 158 runs from dummy half this year, as well as making 1276 metres, an average gain of 6.19 metres per carry.

Key Battle

Adam O’Brien v Brad Dwyer

Two hookers who could go head to head tonight, are the Giants’ number 14, Adam O’Brien, and his opposite number, Brad Dwyer.

Dwyer has featured in 22 of the Rhinos’ 23 Betfred Super League games so far this season, whilst O’Brien has played in 20 of ours. The Giants hooker had scored four tries this season, with an extra five assists, whilst Dwyer has scored three times, setting up a further ten tries.

Dwyer has made the most runs from dummy half in the competition so far this season, with 182, O’Brien has made 59. The Leeds hooker also leads the way in tackles, making 605 to O’Brien’s 472.

Previous Games

The two sides have met once this season, with the Rhinos emerging as 38-18 victors in West Yorkshire.

Leeds opened the scoring in the 5th minute in this game, Brad Dwyer with the break before he passed on his inside to Tui Lolohea, and he strolled in underneath the sticks. Liam Sutcliffe converted to give the Rhinos an early 6-0 lead. Five minutes later they had their second. Dwyer with a quick kick through from dummy half, and James Donaldson pounced on the ball to score. Sutcliffe added his second conversion to make it 12-0. Sutcliffe added a penalty minutes later to make it 14-0. In the 15th minute, Dwyer got himself a try, catching a high kick by Myler to score under the sticks. Sutcliffe added his third conversion to make it 20-0. Leeds added their fourth try of the half just after the half hour mark, Myler scoring under the sticks after another quick kick from dummy half by Dwyer. Sutcliffe maintained his 100% record with the boot to make it 26-0. Tom Briscoe then added the Rhinos’ fifth try of the half just before the break, racing away down the right wing after the Rhinos created an overlap. Sutcliffe missed the conversion as the Rhinos led 30-0 at the break.

We fought back in the second half, Akuila Uate walked in at the left corner after just four minutes to get our first points of the game. Oliver Russell nailed the conversion from the left touchline, to make it 30-6. Just before the hour more, Adam O’Brien saw a gap from dummy half and scored, Russell’s conversion made it 30-12, with just over 20 minutes remaining. Tui Lolohea added a penalty for the Rhinos to make it 32-12, on the hour mark. Three minutes later, we scored our third and final try of the game. Darnell McIntosh breaking a tackle and going over, Russell’s conversion made it 32-18. Ash Handley then scored the final try of the game, nine minutes from time. He picked up a loose ball to go half the length of the pitch and score under the sticks. Sutcliffe’s conversion meant that the game ended 38-18 to the Rhinos in Leeds.

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