Danny Brough was the star of the show as Huddersfield beat Leeds 48-24 at The John Smith’s Stadium.
Brough scored a try and landed eight goals, as well as set up several others to take Huddersfield into the play offs with fine form.
However the game’s turning point was the dismissal of Luke O’Donnell, who struck Ian Kirke high around the head. From here Huddersfield were determined to make up for their missing forward, and went onto steam roll Leeds.
Leroy Cudjoe opened Huddersfield’s try scoring account with a simple stroll over from short distance.
On the previous tackle the Giants had been held up short by a scrambling Leeds defence, but there was no stopping Cudjoe as a simple offload from Brough sent the centre-turned-fullback over the Leeds try line.
Moments later Brough worked his magic once again. On the back of ill discipline by Leeds, Brough’s high kick in windy conditions went over the top of Ben Jones-Bishop, and landed softly into the arms of the leaping Luke George for a sensational try.
The game then turned very sombre after O’Donnell’s strike to Kirke’s head left the Leeds second rower on the floor for 15 minutes. After a long delay, which saw O’Donnell interchanged while play had been stopped, referee Thierry Alibert brought O’Donnell back onto the field and showed him the red card.
However 12-man Huddersfield increased their lead through Michael Lawrence. Brough’s kick to the Huddersfield right corner was caught by Lawrence before he offloaded to Jermaine McGilvary. McGilvary passed back inside to Lawrence before using his strength to ground the ball over the Leeds try line.
Leeds replied five minutes before half time through Jimmy Keinhorst, but with less than a minute before the break Danny Brough intercepted a pass which enabled him to run the remaining distance unchallenged under the posts.
After the break Brough took advantage of Leeds’ poor discipline with two penalty goals before Luke Robinson added more misery to the Rhinos.
Brett Ferres’ break down the left edge was supported by Robinson, and he made sure the angle for Brough to add the extras was as easy as possible.
But the final quarter of the game was a frenzy of tries from both teams.
Scott Grix got onto the end of Brough’s attacking grubber kick into Leeds’ in-goal, before Grix set up Robinson for his second. Grix’s kick was picked up by him, and wonderfully offloaded to Robinson who touched down under the posts.
Cudjoe added his second try to the score board before Kallum Watkins and Carl Ablett scored tries to add a little consolation, while Jamie Peacock had the final say with a try in the corner on the hooter.
Huddersfield scores: T- Cudjoe (2), George, Lawrence, Brough, Robinson (2), Grix. G- Brough (8)
Leeds scores: T- Keinhorst, Hall, Watkins, Ablett, Peacock. G- Sinfield (2)
Huddersfield dismissal: O’Donnell
Huddersfield: Cudjoe; McGilvary, Lawrence, Wardle, Goerge; Grix, Brough; Crabtree, Faiumu, Mason; Fa’alogo, Ferres, O’Donnell. Subs: Robinson, Patrick, Ferguson, Chan.
Leeds: Hardaker; Jones-Bishop, Keinhorst, Watkins, Hall; Sinfield, Burrow; Leuluai, Hood, Peacock; Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Ablett. Subs: Kirke, Hauraki, Griffin, Ward.
Half time: 22-4
Referee: Thierry Alibert