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- First Utility Super League
- Preliminary Semi-Final
- 23rd Sep 2011
- KO 20:00
- Att: 7,872
Mac relieved after tense finish
Brown rues crucial missed second-half opportunity
There were some nerves. Huddersfield can score tries, they are a pretty potent team with the ball, so when they had momentum I was nervous. They pretty much threw everything at us. It was more about Huddersfield's desire to get to a Grand Final
Quotes of the week
Leeds coach Brian McDermott admitted he was a nervous man in the closing stages of his side's 34-28 victory over Huddersfield in the Super League preliminary semi-final at the Galpharm Stadium.
The Rhinos led 34-12 on 57 minutes, but the Giants roared back to within a converted score with six minutes still left on the clock.
"There were some nerves," said McDermott. "Huddersfield can score tries, they are a pretty potent team with the ball, so when they had momentum I was nervous.
"They pretty much threw everything at us. It was more about Huddersfield's desire to get to a Grand Final."
Leeds' 19-year-old centre Zak Hardaker grabbed a hat-trick of tries and McDermott admits he has probably done enough to keep his place in the side for next week's semi-final at St Helens or Warrington, even if Carl Ablett and Kallum Watkins return from injury.
"He's grown in that position," added McDermott. "He didn't look out of place straight away and gradually believed in that position a bit more each week. Tonight he showed just what he could do."
While Leeds are on a roll, with four straight wins since their Challenge Cup final defeat, fast-fading Huddersfield's season came to an abrupt end with an eighth defeat in 10 games.
There were times when the Giants still looked in shock from their 47-0 mauling by Warrington a week ago but they they twice produced fightbacks to close the gap to six points and did enough in the end to restore their pride.
Giants coach Nathan Brown felt the turning point came early in the second half when, having fought their way back from 16-0 down, the Giants had a chance to go in front when Danny Brough dropped a final pass from Leroy Cudjoe with the line open.
"At 16-12 we put the pass down when we were going behind the posts and they put back-to-back tries on us," said Brown.
"Towards the end of the year we've lost a bit of resolve and that probably showed in that crucial stage tonight."
Despite their dismal finish to the season, Brown insists Huddersfield are close to being contenders for the top prizes.
"We just need to try to go from a top-four side to get that little bit better," he said. "We all need to look at a few things and need to try and advance a touch.
"We've been in the top four three years in a row. We haven't delivered a trophy but we're competing hard and I'm proud of all the players. A lot of our younger players did terrific tonight."
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 16 - 58 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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