14 Mar 2021

Giants beat Rhinos in pre-season clash

Huddersfield Giants 22-16 Leeds Rhinos

Huddersfield Giants (16) 22

Tries: Sezer, McIntosh, Cogger, L. Senior 

Goals: Sezer (2/3), Russell (1/1) 

Leeds Rhinos (4) 16

Tries: Broadbent, Sutcliffe, Briscoe

Goals: Martin (2/3)

Huddersfield Giants got their 2021 Season off to a winning start, as they beat Leeds 22-16 in an entertaining pre-season game at the John Smith's Stadium.

Huddersfield gave debuts to each of their 8 off-season signings, with Olly Ashall-Bott occupying the Number 1 jersey due to the injury to Ashton Golding. Leeds were without Luke Gale and new signing Kyle Eastmond, who Leeds coach Richard Agar rested as a precaution. Agar named a number of youngsters, including Jack Broadbent and Corey Hall in his starting thirteen.  

Leeds dominated the early stages, with Luke Briscoe dropping a pass after a flowing move that nearly saw the winger crossing over to give the visitors the lead with 5 minutes gone. It was the hosts however, who opened the scoring, with Lee Gaskell switching the play with an excellent kick to Aidan Sezer, who crossed over before converting his own try to give the Giants a six-point lead.

Leeds capitalised on a dropped ball to feed Jack Broadbent who went the length of the field to score, but a tackle after nearly crossing over courtesy of James Cunningham, the Giants worked the ball wide to Darnell McIntosh who crossed over to put the Giants six points to the good. Both sides continued to test each other in the opening stanza, before Jack Cogger intercepted a loose pass from the Rhinos to score under the posts, converted by Aidan Sezer on the hooter. The Giants returned to the sheds with a 16-4 lead.

The Giants put the pressure on the Giants line early in the second half with Jack Ashworth and Oliver Wilson nearly crossing over before Kenny Edwards fired an excellent ball to the hands of Louis Senior to increase the lead, with Olly Russell converting the try to make the scores 22-4 after 63 minutes. 

Leeds stormed back however, with tries from Liam Sutcliffe and Luke Briscoe, converted in tandem by Rhyse Martin, to reduce the arrears to just six points, as the momentum flipped in the game. The Rhinos pushed for the leveller and kept the heat on the Giants defence, culminating with an excellent tackle by debutant Aidan McGowen, preventing a certain try from King Vuniyayawa.

The Giants defence would hold strong despite fierce late Rhinos resistance, meaning the Giants head into the Super League with a 100% pre-season record. Attention now turns to the Giants first Super League game, against Hull FC on March 28th.