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Oliver Roberts caps surprise win for Huddersfield over Leeds

Huddersfield moved to within a point of the top eight with a surprising yet thoroughly deserved victory against an in‑form Leeds side.

Perhaps the biggest asset for Super League this year has been the competition’s unpredictable nature; and this was arguably the most surprising result of the season to date.

Leeds came into this fixture buoyed with confidence, after three wins in succession handed them the opportunity here to move top of Super League for the first time since they won the League Leader’s Shield in 2015.

However, while they were peculiarly lacklustre here that should not deflect from a wonderful performance from Huddersfield. A run of nine games without a win had led to them falling down the table at a rate of knots. Yet here they were sensational.

Huddersfield, without almost a dozen first-team players because of injury, were at least able to call on the services of Danny Brough, the Scotland captain who has so often been a telling influence when the pressure has been on his shoulders in recent years.

Brough’s 40-20 in the opening moments of the game suggested he could do the same again but – symptomatic of their season to date – despite spending the majority of the first 15 minutes camped on the Leeds line Brough and Huddersfield were unable to post any points.

Leeds made them pay, too. With their first threatening piece of field position, the Rhinos hooker Matt Parcell scampered over from close‑range to make it 6-0: but to their credit the Giants responded magnificently. Their next sustained spell of pressure on the Leeds line would bring points; first, an inch-perfect kick found its way into the arms of the full-back Jake Mamo for his third try in as many games, before Kruise Leeming followed suit shortly after to make it 12-6.

With the weather worsening in West Yorkshire as the half wore on, points were at a premium – and both sides toiled in the slick conditions as half-time approached. However, Leeds were at least able to level when a wonderful break from Stevie Ward was finished by Joel Moon. On the balance of play, it was perhaps the right scoreline.

However, the second half was a markedly different story. Leeds thought they had scored the first points of the half when Danny McGuire touched down only for it to be ruled out by the video referee: and how vital that proved to be.

Within 90 seconds Huddersfield were ahead, and this time, they would not fall behind again. Dale Ferguson touched down Adam O’Brien’s kick, before Darnell McIntosh capitalised on one of many handling errors from the Rhinos to put real daylight between the sides for the first time. Brough’s late dropped goal secured victory: a late try from Oliver Roberts confirmed a huge surprise even further.

Leeds Rhinos Walker; Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Hall; McGuire, Moon; Galloway, Parcell, Mullally, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Cuthbertson. Interchange Burrow, Ward, Singleton, Garbutt.

Huddersfield Giants Mamo; McGillvary, Mellor, Murphy, McIntosh; Brough, Wood; Ikahihifo, Leeming, Wakeman, Roberts, Ferguson, Hinchcliffe. Interchange Clough, Smith, English, O’Brien. Referee C Kendall.