Huddersfield pepped up off-colour boss Ian Watson with a five-try 30-16 victory to end Leeds’ mini revival under new coach Rohan Smith.
Watson watched fourth-placed Giants’ 10th league win in isolation due to sickness; the only spectator at the Fantastic Media Stand end of the ground.
Only briefly did the visitors threaten to deny Huddersfield back-to-back wins after their Challenge Cup final heartbreak against Wigan.
Trailing 22-0 after 27 minutes, they recovered to 22-10 with a quarter of the contest remaining.
But a sixth win in seven games was all but confirmed for Huddersfield when Will Pryce slotted a 63rd minute penalty to restore Huddersfield’s three-score lead.
Former St Helens and Hull forward Josh Jones then smashed his way over to put the result out of Rhinos’ reach.
When the sides met in April they played out only the second Super League game to finish in a tie after golden point.
Anything close to a repeat of that 20-all stalemate was never on the cards due to Giants’ blistering start.
By half-time the contest was as good as over: Giants scoring four tries, including an 80-metres interception by Lance Todd Trophy winner Chris McQueen to lead 22-4.
Leeds’ pain could have been greater but Pryce missed three shots at goal.
The Rhinos, so impressive in beating Warrington last time out, were woeful until two seconds from the break when skipper Ash Handley finished off a Blake Austin mid-field break and Richie Myler assist.
Handley’s touchdown was the 94th for Leeds and the 100th of his career.
Pryce’s fourth-minute penalty was followed by tries by Ricky Leutele and Jermaine McGillvary after 12 and 20 minutes; both players touching down in the reverse fixture.
McGillvary’s touchdown moved him joint sixth on Super League’s all-time scoring charts alongside Ryan Atkins on 186.
Leutele provided an audacious offload for Jake Wardle to grab the home side’s third try after 23 minutes before one-time South Sydney winger McQueen picked Cam Smith’s pocket and sprinted away for a sizzling solo score.
HT: Huddersfield Giants 22-4 Leeds Rhinos
After Handley’s lifeline, Leeds’ revival continued briefly at the start of the second half.
Liam Sutcliffe’s 56th-minute touchdown and Rhyse Martin conversion hinted at a famous comeback by the Headingley outfit.
Instead, Pryce kicked a fourth goal for a high tackle and added the extras to second-rower Jones’ match-clinching try.
Full-back Zak Hardaker added a late try for Leeds but the visitors finished well beaten as Huddersfield further underlined their credentials as potential end-of-season Grand Finalists.
FT: Huddersfield Giants 30-16 Leeds Rhinos
Huddersfield: Lolohea; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Leutele, Wardle; Cogger, Pryce; Wilson, Levi, Lawrence, McQueen, Jones, English. Subs: Greenwood, Golding, Trout, Mason.
Tries: Leutele, McGillvary, Wardle, McQueen, Jones Goals: Pryce 5
Leeds: Hardaker; Handley, Sutcliffe, Martin, Fusitu’a; Myler, Austin; Oledzki, O’Connor, Tetevano, Thompson, Donaldson, Smith. Subs: Walters, Newman, Prior, Dwyer.
Tries: Handley, Sutcliffe, Hardaker Goals: Martin 2
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