Paul Aiton’s late try helped Leeds maintain their 100% start to the season in a tight Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield.
Leeds led 18-0 with Carl Ablett, Adam Cuthbertson and Ryan Hall all scoring in the first half. However Huddersfield fought back with tries from Jamie Ellis and Joe Wardle to keep them in touching distance at half time.
The second half was end to end with Tom Briscoe extending Leeds’ lead. Yet again Huddersfield fought back with tries from Kyle Wood and Brett Ferres to put them in front for the first time in the game.
Unfortunately for the Giants it wasn’t enough as Aiton forced his way over for his first Leeds try and it turned out to be a crucial one to give them the win.
Leeds Coach Brian McDermott said: “Credit to Huddersfield for slowing us down but nobody wants to watch that the referee needs to stop that.”
He added “I wouldn’t saying were firing on all cylinders yet but we’ve won three from three.”
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson said: “I have to congratulate the side on the character they showed tonight to come from 18-0 down and they didn’t let the scoreboard affect them.”
The target is still clear for Anderson has he said: “There’s still 20 rounds to go which means 40 points that can still get us the league leaders shield.”
Leeds did start the game well though putting themselves 18-0 up after 25 minutes. Carl Ablett was the first player to score after he hit a ball from Danny McGuire from close range. Adam Cuthbertson got over from a similar range when the ball came inside and he forced his way over Brett Ferres.
Ryan Hall continued this fierce start for the Rhinos when he got over in the corner. Centre Joel Moon broke from distance before getting the ball out to Hall whose combination of power and pace, which has served him so well over the years, helped him finish well.
Danny Brough said: “We gave them an 18-0 start in the first half and gave them a 6-0 in the second half.”
Even with this start Huddersfield did fight back and put themselves in touching distance at the break. After three consecutive sets Jamie Ellis managed to spin off the defenders and his momentum took him over the line.
This before Joe Wardle crashed his way over for his 50th Huddersfield Giants try. These two quick tries put the Giants only a converted try behind going into the interval. Wardle also came close to getting a second on the sound of the hooter but put the ball to ground.
Much like the first forty Leeds started the better as Stevie Ward made a barnstorming run through the middle of the field. He managed to find Tom Briscoe who finished the move off well to put Leeds 10 points in front. Huddersfield did start to fight back immediately after however showing a steely defence and having a Jermaine McGillvary disallowed.
They did get the try they needed though when Kyle Wood got onto the end of Leroy Cudjoe’s grubber kick back inside, he dived on the ball unmarked. After this Brett Ferres looked to have won the Giants the game as he went through before dummying and spinning his way over the line. Brough converted and Huddersfield led for the first time in the game.
Leeds didn’t give up though as Paul Aiton managed to scramble his way over from hooker, actually putting the ball down backwards. It was the first try for the ex-Wakefield man and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Sinfield converted to give Leeds a 28-24 victory.
Aiton said: “It feels really good coming off a few good years at Wakefield now I’m really looking forward to playing for Leeds.”
For Leeds it’s now three wins from three as they sit atop of the Super League table. Whilst Huddersfield are yet to win a game this season.
Captain Danny Brough said: “Even though we’re yet to win we can take a lot of confidence away from tonight’s performance.”
Leeds face a difficult trip to Hull FC next Thursday whilst Huddersfield host Widnes on Friday night.