Aspinwall takes Giants step for title pretenders

Huddersfield 26 Leeds 20
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The Independent Online

Martin Aspinwall's try and the accurate kicking of Leroy Cudjoe saw Huddersfield to a first Super League win over Leeds in seven years and only their second in 24 attempts in the competition.

A fascinating battle between the reigning champions and a side with genuine aspirations of supplanting them resolved itself when Aspinwall took a short ball from Scott Grix to plunge over, Cudjoe added the conversion and a later penalty and the Giants just about held their composure for the last few minutes.

The Giants took early control with two glorious tries in the space of three minutes, both springing from the good work of their scrum-half, Luke Robinson. It was his break and pass that released David Fa'alogo for Shaun Lunt to support and touch down.

Then his exquisite chip dropped straight into the arms of Leroy Cudjoe, who kicked across field for Lee Gilmour to score. With Cudjoe kicking both conversions, Huddersfield were in a strong position and could have been further ahead before the match turned just before half-time.

Jamie Peacock stood in the tackle to give Rob Burrow the Rhinos' first points and then Luke Burgess performed a similar service for Danny McGuire. The Giants must have wondered where their well-earned lead had gone, but matters got even worse in the final minute before the interval, Brett Delaney kicking ahead for Ryan Hall to gather and score and for Burrow to add his third goal.

Ali Lauitiiti and Andy Raleigh went to the sin-bin for fighting at the start of the second half, but the penalty went to Leeds, knocked over by Burrow.

The Giants fought back when Grix, on as a second-half substitute, made his first significant contribution. He got the ball to Larne Patrick, who showed great strength and determination to force his way over.

That put the Giants just two points behind and there were chances at both ends before Leeds lost the ball in an attacking position and Huddersfeld surged to the other end for Grix to send Aspinwall over. It is a result that, for the Giants, represents another psychological barrier crossed.

"We're making progress," said their coach, Nathan Brown. "We couldn't have won that game last year."

Huddersfield: Cudjoe; Lolesi, Lawrence, Wild, Hodgson; Brown, Robinson; Griffin, Lunt, Raleigh, Gilmour, Fa'alogo, Aspinwall. Substitutes used: Crabtree, Faiumu, Patrick, Grix.

Leeds: Webb; Hall, Delaney, Senior, Watkins; McGuire, Burrow; Leuluai, Buderus, Bailey, Peacock, Kirke, Jones-Buchanan. Substitutes used: Diskin, Lauitiiti, Burgess, Pitts.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).