Late Rhinos fight-back creates Golden Point thriller

Kruise Leeming and Ashton Golding both faced their previous clubs as Leeds Rhinos faced the Huddersfield Giants to round off the 2020 Betfred Super League restart.

Despite being at Headingley, the Giants were the home side, and they crossed first.

Lee Gaskell put a smart kick along the floor into the corner for Louis Senior to collect and dot down.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to hit back though, or so it seemed.

The play was a sweeping one from right to left, and full-back Richie Myler found a gap on the outside but was wrapped up and tackled short by Ashton Golding.

In the 13th minute, Luke Gale made a break straight through the middle of the Giants defence, released Alex Mellor who, in turn, shifted the ball back outside through Ash Handley to Konrad Hurrell who crashed over from five metres out despite the presence of three Huddersfield defenders.

Rhyse Martin converted from the touchline to give the away side a slender lead.

It took the Giants just three minutes to hit back, and it was Ashton Golding, a former Rhino, who dummied the ball to pull Harry Newman out the line, and then pushed the pass out to Darnell McIntosh to slide over on the left-wing.

Having not scored a try in 12-months, it was like buses for Darnell McIntosh as two came along at once just after the 20-minute mark.

Lee Gaskell once again took the ball to the line, but instead of a short ball to a big man, he looped a long ball over to the winger, who beat the desperate efforts of Martin and Handley to dive over in the corner.

Although it was three tries to one, the Giants still only led by six due to Sezer’s failed conversion attempts.

That changed to eight points just as the half came to an end after Alex Mellor pushed Lee Gaskell off the ball, which allowed Sezer to add the two points from in front of the posts.

HALF-TIME: Huddersfield Giants 14-6 Leeds Rhinos

With just four minutes of the second half gone, the Rhinos were attacking the Giants left edge but Robert Lui’s pass to Myler hit the deck, which allowed McIntosh to pick up the loose ball and race 85-metres, outpacing Handley and Briscoe to score.

Things went from bad to worse for Leeds as James Donaldson was hit hard in the tackle and remained on the floor for a long time.

After a long pause, the forward was stretchered off the field, while wearing a neck brace.

The ill-discipline from the Rhinos was gifting Huddersfield easy territory, and once again the home side started a set of six just ten metres from the try-line.

Ash Handley was then sin-binned for dissent as he threw the ball away after being called offside.

With the man advantage, the Giants crossed again as Sezer’s miss pass found Senior on the wing that Handley would have been defending.

Luke Gale gave Leeds a smidge of hope as he dummied to get outside Aaron Murphy as they looked to get the comeback on.

After Gale scored, but Murphy and Jordan Turner left the field for Head Injury Assessments and with 12 minutes left would lose both for the remainder of the game.

Leeds were taking plenty of risks and within two tackles of the kick-off, had got the ball over to Tom Briscoe on the right-wing, and managed to ground the ball despite a covering tackle from McIntosh.

Martin missed both conversion attempts and suddenly the Giants only led by 12.

It was three tries in five minutes for the Rhinos when then marched back upfield again and Dwyer popped the ball to Alex Mellor to power over the top of Gaskell and Golding to score against his former side.

Handley broke down the left-wing once again in the next minute, but his inside pass was picked off by Gaskell.

With five minutes to go, the Huddersfield player’s confidence looked to have dropped but a knock-on from Robert Lui on the 40-metre line relieved a lot of pressure.

With three minutes to go, the wrecking ball that is Konrad Hurrell was the recipient of a flat pass from Luke Gale and crashed over the line.

Rhyse Martin had to convert to level the score and struck in beautifully to make it 26-26.

In the final seconds of the game, Leeming dropped the ball but Gaskell’s drop-goal attempt was wide and the game would go into golden point.

FULL-TIME: Huddersfield Giants 26-26 Leeds Rhinos

Leeds were the first team to receive the ball from the kick-off, but only thanks to some luck after a short kick-off from the Giants was knocked on by James Gavet.

They couldn’t keep hold of it though, as Cuthbertson dropped the ball just two tackles later on the half-way line.

The Giants slowly worked their way forward but unfortunately, Gaskell’s attempt went wide to gift Leeds a seven-tackle set.

The set ended with Leeds on the 30-metre line, and the ball was swung back to Luke Gale who’s drop-goal floated slowly between the uprights and took Leeds to the top of the table.

GOLDEN-POINT FULL-TIME: Huddersfield Giants 26-27 Leeds Rhinos


Squads


Huddersfield Giants

Golding, L. Senior, Wardle, Turner, McIntosh, Gaskell, Sezer, Gavet, O’Brien, English, Edwards, Wood, Lawrence

Interchanges: Holmes, Wilson, Matagi, Murphy

Tries: Senior (2), McIntosh (3)

Goals: Sezer (3/6)


Leeds Rhinos

Myler, Handley, Hurrell, Newman, L. Briscoe, Lui, Gale, Sumanufagai, Dwyer, Oledzki, Mellor, Martin, Prior

Interchanges: Smith, Donaldson, Cuthbertson, Leeming

Tries: Hurrell (2), Gale, Briscoe, Golding

Goals: Martin (3/5)

Sin-Bins: Handley


Referee: R. Hicks

Touch Judges: J. Smith, A. Martin

Video Referee: C. Kendall


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