Leeds send Huddersfield out of the play-off zone

Huddersfield 10 - Leeds 42
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Tony Smith made a comfortable return to the newly rechristened Galpharm Stadium as his old club slipped out of the Super League play-off zone they have occupied all season.

Tony Smith made a comfortable return to the newly rechristened Galpharm Stadium as his old club slipped out of the Super League play-off zone they have occupied all season.

The Leeds coach saw his current team control the game from start to finish, underlining how hard it is going to be to knock them off top spot.

"It was good to come back here and get the result, but it was a pretty dour old game and the conditions had a major influence on that,'' said Smith, who appealed for players to be allowed extra fluid when temperatures are like yesterday's.

The first half saw Leeds race away to a 24-point lead without playing particularly well. Matt Diskin's crisp work at dummy-half started to pay dividends as early as the fourth minute, when he sent Wayne McDonald over for the first Leeds try.

Five minutes later, he started some slick handling along the line for Marcus Bai to score. Andrew Dunemann and Francis Cummins then worked a gap for Chris McKenna and the Rhinos were already out of sight. The closest the Giants came to a reply was when Stuart Jones lost the ball in Bai's tackle as he slid over from Paul March's pass.

Even some of their better defensive work went unrewarded, as when Marcus St Hilaire chased back to prevent Danny McGuire from scoring, only for Rob Burrow to dart over from the next play. McGuire got his inevitable try, his 30th of the season, early in the second half, working a crafty run-around with Bai.

But then Leeds switched off and Brandon Costin began a little fight-back by gliding past three defenders for Huddersfield's first try after 51 minutes.

Four minutes later, it was his kick that was cleverly knocked back in-field by Hefin O'Hare for James Evans to score. St Hilaire then missed a good chance, but that was as close as Huddersfield got and Willie Poching and McKenna finished it off with tries in the final minutes.

"It's a shame that we only dug in when we were so far behind, but Leeds were tremendous early on,'' the Huddersfield coach Jon Sharp said.

* London Broncos eased their relegation fears with a 38-24 victory over fellow strugglers Widnes. A superb first half ensured that they would be taking the two points. Though Widnes came back at them, they did enough to hang on.

Huddersfield: Donlan; O'Hare, Evans, Bailey, St Hilaire; Costin, March; Gannon, Penkywicz, Grayshon, Nero, Jones, Roarty. Substitutes used: Slicker, Smith, White, Fleary.

Leeds: Mathers; Cummins, McKenna, Senior, Bai; McGuire, Dunemann; McDonald, Diskin, Ward, Furner, Lauiti'iti, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Burrow, McDermott, Adamson, Poching.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).

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