Smith humble in victory

Leeds coach Tony Smith paid tribute to his former club Huddersfield after they made the engage Super League leaders fight all the way for the points in an entertaining clash at Headingley.

The champions led only 22-14 after 50 minutes but doubled their score in the last 24 minutes to run out 44-14 winners and maintain their two-point lead over St Helens.

?I thought they played very well, the best I?ve seen them play for a little while,? said Smith. ?If they play like that, they will beat plenty of teams this year.?

Scrum-half Rob Burrow, who has deputised magnificently for the injured Danny McGuire so far this season, scored a first hat-trick for the club to enhance his prospects of landing a place in the Great Britain squad to be named on Tuesday.

?Rob looked sharp and more dangerous than ever,? said Smith. ?But there are a lot of boys in this team who are pushing for selection for Great Britain.?

Huddersfield were forced to field a patched-up back division following the loss of five regulars through injury while coach Jon Sharp admitted that both stand-off Chris Thorman and centre Michael De Vere had been unable to train this week.

Thorman set up a try for 19-year-old winger Bolu Fagborun and kicked two goals to keep the Giants in touch at 10-8 but his back injury eventually forced him out of the action 10 minutes into the second half.

Hooker Brad Drew added a second try to briefly keep the visitors in the hunt but Rhinos second rower Willie Poching touched down twice in five minutes to put the game beyond them.

?I?m absolutely proud as punch of players,? said Sharp. ?We challenged the best defensive side in Super League and for large parts of the game looked comfortable at this level.

?I enjoyed how we played. The try right on half-time knocked us around and gave Leeds a bit more confidence. But we are a hearty bunch who never give in.?

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