19 Sep 2021
Giants triumph in final-day battle
Huddersfield Giants 42-24 Leigh Centurions
Huddersfield Giants (22) 42
Tries: Senior (2), Cudjoe, Trout, Russell, Greenwood, Pryce, Leutele
Goals: Russell (5)
Sin Bin: Peteru (78)
Leigh Centurions (12) 24
Tries: Whitbread, Thornley, Elliot (2), Stone
Goals: Brierley (2)
Huddersfield Giants: Ashall-Bott; Senior, Leutele, Cudjoe, McGillvary; Cogger, Russell; Wilson, Peats, English; Jones, McQueen; Lawrence
Interchanges: Peteru, Trout, Pryce, Greenwood
Leigh Centurions: Brand; Logan, Thornley, Sa'u, Elliot; Brierley, Ellis; Whitbread, Hood, Sidlow; Hellawell, Stone; Bell
Interchanges: Thompson, Gerrard, Butler, Ashworth
Huddersfield Giants ended the 2021 Betfred Super League season in style as they cruised to victory against Leigh Centurions in an end-to-end battle at the John Smith's Stadium, scoring seven tries and winning by 42-24.
Jermaine McGillvary returned to the starting line-up for Huddersfield after he missed the trip to Catalonia, and Olly Ashall-Bott retained his place at full-back after an impressive run out against the League Leaders. Leigh travelled to the John Smith's Stadium knowing that it would be their last fixture in the Betfred Super League, having had their relegation confirmed a few weeks ago.
Huddersfield came out of the blocks early, scoring within the first five minutes courtesy of Louis Senior, who finished off a sweeping lateral move to score acrobatically in the corner. Ten minutes later, Leigh would respond with a try after a spell of pressure for the visitors, with Jai Whitbread running through the gap to score. Ryan Brierley added the extras from the boot, and the visitors took the lead.
It wouldn't be long, just five minutes in fact, before the Giants would regain the lead, this time courtesy of Leroy Cudjoe, who leapt the highest from a pin-point kick to score. Olly Russell nailed the conversion on his second attempt, and the Giants established a four point lead.
In an end-to-end first half, it was the visitors who breached the whitewash next, as Iain Thornley sauntered through the gap off the back of a set-restart to dive over to re-establish parity. Brierley attempted the conversion from the touchline, and nailed the conversion to restore the Centurions' lead.
Huddersfield seized control of the momentum moments before the second half ended, with two quick tries courtesy of Owen Trout and Olly Russell, with two Russell conversions giving the Giants a ten point lead going into the sheds, with the score 22-12.
...and the Giants would continue that momentum after the restart. A lateral move on the final play found the ball in the hands of Olly Russell, who flung a kick out wide into the arms of Louis Senior who grubbered the ball, rounded his opposite number, and touched down to score. Russell was unsuccessful with the conversion, however.
With 23 left on the clock, Jack Ashworth was sent to the sin-bin against his parent club and the Giants would waste no time taking advantage, with Joe Greenwood smashing over from close range as Huddersfield hit 30 on the day. Olly Russell added the extras to give the Giants a lead of 20 points going into the final quarter. Leigh would hit back a few minutes later courtesy of Brendan Elliot, who touched down off a Ryan Brierley kick to reduce the arrears.
After 65 minutes, the Giants would be in again, with Will Pryce darting through the centre of the Leigh Centurions defence to notch up arguably the score of the game. Russell added the extras yet again, and the Giants hit 38 points.
The visitors weren't done yet, however, and responded with a try of their own with 11 left on the clock, as Sam Stone, son of former Giants coach Rick, finished off a terrific move to make the scores 38-20. Brierley pulled the conversion wide-left however for his second unsuccessful kick of the day.
Four minutes later, the Giants hit 40 as Ricky Leutele touched down to score an excellent effort, but the conversion from Olly Russell was missed. Late on in the game, tensions boiled over as the handbags were out between the two sides, after much deliberation between the officials, Nathaniel Peteru, on loan from Leigh, was sent to the stands for the final 3 minutes of the Betfred Super League season.
The visitors would take full advantage, finishing their stay in Super League with the final try, 15 seconds from the hooter, as Elliot scored for his second of the match, but Liam Hood, departing the Centurions, could not add the extras after the hooter had sounded. Huddersfield win their 10th game of 2021 and end the Betfred Super League in style.