Huddersfield Giants head coach Paul Anderson believes his team need to be better at the tough stuffRead the full story ›
Leeds snatched a remarkable victory amid unbelievable tension to lift the league leaders' shield on a night of high drama in Super League.
The Rhinos were heading for a fourth straight defeat - and an away semi-final - after Huddersfield established a 16-8 lead but they stormed back with 12 points in the last seven minutes to claim an unlikely 20-16 victory.
Right winger Tom Briscoe, Leeds' five-try hero at Wembley, handed his side a lifeline with a 74th-minute score while left winger Ryan Hall grabbed the winner in the last move of an epic game.
It means the Rhinos, two-thirds of the way towards completing the treble, will host St Helens in the second semi-final next Friday while Wigan, who lost out in the battle for top spot despite a 47-12 win over Castleford, play Huddersfield at the DW Stadium on Thursday.
The John Smith's Stadium was no place for the faint-hearted as scores flashed over from the DW Stadium and the helicopter based at the City Airport on the outskirts of Manchester began to hover between the two destinations with the prized trophy.
Points were at a premium throughout a close-fought first half but there was no shortage of excitement, with Huddersfield demonstrating just why they have the best defence in Super League.
Leeds drew first blood after nine minutes when second rower Stevie Ward collected skipper Kevin Sinfield's pass to glide through a rare hole in the home defence to touch down.
But when Hall fumbled the ball into touch from the re-start, it gifted the Giants a perfect attacking position and they made the most of it, with prolific right winger Jermaine McGillvary diving over at the corner for his 27th try of the season.
The score maintained McGillvary's record of scoring in all seven rounds of the Super 8s and virtually guarantees he finishes the season as Super League's leading tryscorer.
Danny Brough's touchline conversion levelled the scores but Sinfield edged his side into an 8-6 interval lead with a 40-metre penalty.
The Rhinos fans must have felt the trophy slipping from their grasp five minutes into the second half when full-back Zak Hardaker fumbled the ball from Hall's risky pass near his own line and Huddersfield hooker Luke Robinson hacked on to the line and appeared to ground the ball.
However, slow-motion replays revealed Robinson lost control of the ball and Leeds breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Brough brought his side level with a penalty on 48 minutes and they twice split the visitors defence through Brett Ferres and Joe Wardle without managing to apply the finishing touches.
At the other end, Danny McGuire had a try disallowed for an obstruction and Hardaker was held up on his back over the line.
At one point Sinfield was shaping for a drop goal but he was quickly shut down and McGillvary got the Giants on a counter-attack which produced what looked to be the pivotal score.
Second rower Jack Hughes, who is on loan from Wigan, gathered the ball from Brough's high kick and combined with centre Leroy Cudjoe to get scrum-half Jamie Ellis sprinting over for a try.
Brough landed his second conversion and shortly afterwards kicked a second penalty to open up an eight-point lead but the drama continued as Briscoe went over on 74 minutes for his side's second try.
Sinfield's touchline conversion cut the gap to just two points and levelled the scores for a third time with a penalty before Hall collected McGuire's kick over the Huddersfield defence to sprint away for the match-winning try.
England International Leroy Cudjoe has committed his long term future to the Huddersfield Giants.
The 27-year-old centre has extended his current arrangement with the club until the end of the 2020 season thus guaranteeing him a further five years in the Claret and Gold.
The hometown academy product from the Newsome Panthers club has to date made 210 appearances scoring 94 tries as well as making 12 England appearances with six tries since he debuted back in 2008.
I am now one of the longest serving players on our books and enjoy working in and around the town with the younger players to try and encourage more
support which we all know we deserve. Our form on the pitch has deserved better but our loyal supporters never leave us and I hope that I can repay their faith in me by playing my part to take us to even greater success.
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Wakefield Wildcats prop forward Daniel Smith has signed a four and a half year deal with the Huddersfield Giants.
The 22-year-old will move immediately after Giants prop forward Anthony Mullally agreed to move to Belle Vue on loan for the remainder of the 2015 season after which he will join his new club the Leeds Rhinos.
Smith becomes a Giant and will be available for selection for the trip to Catalan Dragons at the weekend.
Huddersfield Giants Managing Director Richard Thewlis said that the Smith deal had in essence merely been brought forward from the planned 2016 start.
Anthony leaves with our very best wishes for the future and I am sure that our fans will look forward to Daniel putting a claret and gold shirt on in the near future.
Huddersfield Giants Head Coach Paul Anderson has signed an agreement to remain in-charge until the end of the 2017 season.
The 43-year-old took the role in late 2012 from Nathan Brown and led the claret and gold to the League Leaders Shield in his first year. He followed it up with a third-placed finish last season.
My continuation here has never really been an issue to me as the club has always been good to their word and I’m happy we are now able to announce it. I am proud to coach this club and work with good people who have the right ethics I believe to take us forward. I know the ambition here is huge and that’s great as it matches mine in wanting to be the first coach that delivers a major trophy to the Club.
Huddersfield's England forward Brett Ferres has rejected advances from the NRL to commit his future to the Super League club.
The 29-year-old former Bradford, Wakefield and Castleford second rower, who is vice-captain of the Giants, has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the John Smith's Stadium to the end of 2019.
Ferres joined Huddersfield on a five-year deal in 2012 but had a release clause enabling him to move overseas at the end of this season.
Huddersfield have been very good to me and since being here I've moved into the England set-up, which was one of my aims, and we've established ourselves at the top end of the table. I did have the option to go to the NRL at the end of this season but, with Huddersfield wanting me longer term and the security that brought with it to me and the family who are very settled here, I was only too happy to stay.
Ferres has made 72 appearances for the Giants and made his England debut in the 2013 World Cup.
Brett is an international-quality player and every team needs those guys to lead and perform well both on and off the field. He is one of our go-to men when we need a play and a leader and someone who would enhance any team in the competition. His retention long term is great news for the club and the UK Super League as a whole as we were aware of interest elsewhere in his services.
Huddersfield Giants have signed New Zealand international Sam Rapira for 2016.Read the full story ›
Leeds Rhinos have announced the signing of Huddersfield Giants forward Anthony Mullally, 23, on a three year contract from the 2016 season.
Originally from Widnes, he came through the academy at his hometown club and made his debut aged 17. He moved to Brisbane Broncos. but returned to Widnes in 2012, winning promotion to the Super League. He joined Huddersfield Giants in 2013.
It is great to have agreed a three year contract with a club like the Rhinos with all the success they have had over recent years. Huddersfield have been very good to me so I wanted to make sure that I got the process finalised as quickly as possible.
We are pleased to have secured a player with the potential that Anthony has. We have seen first hand the impact he can have on a game and I am looking forward to working with him from next season.
Leeds coach Brian McDermott insisted his recall of Kevin Sinfield was no masterstroke despite his skipper's man-of-the-match performance.Read the full story ›