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5 days ago
Engage Super League XVI Preliminary Semi-Finals review by Simon Reuben
Leeds Rhinos moved within 80-minutes of the Grand Final as they withstood A Huddersfield Giants fightback at Galpharm Stadium.
After been mauled last week at Warrington, the Giants would need to use their second chance in a bid to keep their season alive.
Since their agonising defeat at Wembley at the end of August, the Rhinos had won every game including a victory at Huddersfield two weeks ago, so they came into this Preliminary Semi-Final as slight favourites.
Weller Hauraki fed Jones-Bishop at the right corner as Leeds opened the scoring, before Brent Webb and Danny McGuire carved a huge hole in the Huddersfield defence, allowing in teenager Zac Hardaker. Kevin Sinfield kicked one of the conversions as the visitors led 10-0 inside the first ten minutes of the game.
Huddersfield gained some possession but Leeds scrambled well and a spiralling kick from Sinfield was dropped by Jermaine McGillvary and Hardaker was on hand to claim a double.
Needing to score next, the Giants duly delivered as good play by Danny Brough led to Scott Grix cutting the gap to 16-6 at half time.
Then, four minutes into the second period Dale Ferguson crashed through the line as the Giants were back in the game. It could have been even better for the home side then when Leroy Cudjoe broke clear down the left, but he chose to go inside and Brough spilled the crucial pass.
After this, Leeds upped their tempo and took control with three quickfire tries, nineteen year old Hardaker completing his first Rhinos hat-trick in between a brace from Webb as the visitors took their lead out to 34-12.
But Huddersfield would not lie down and in the last ten minutes of the game they made the Rhinos panic as they hit them with a blistering burst, Fa'alogo scoring twice either side of Grix, Brough kicking two of the goals.
Leeds managed to whether the storm and clung on to keep alive their hopes of sixth visit to Old Trafford in eight years.
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