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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

Last updated: 23rd September 2011   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Mac relieved after tense finish

Brian McDermott: one game away from the Grand Final

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

Brian McDermott
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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.

Turning point

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

First Utility Super League Table - March 1 2015
Pos Team P Pts
1 St Helens 3 6
2 Leeds Rhinos 3 6
3 Catalans Dragons 3 4
4 Warrington Wolves 3 4
5 Wakefield Wildcats 3 4
6 Widnes Vikings 3 3
7 Wigan Warriors 3 3
8 Hull FC 3 2
9 Hull K R 3 2
10 Salford Red Devils 3 2
11 Castleford Tigers 3 0
12 Huddersfield Giants 3 0
Forthcoming First Utility Super League Fixtures
TimeFixture
First Utility Super League
Thursday 5th March
20:00Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos
Friday 6th March
20:00Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens
20:00Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings
20:00Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors
Saturday 7th March
15:30Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils
Sunday 8th March
15:00Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R
Thursday 12th March
20:00Huddersfield vs Castleford
Friday 13th March
20:00Warrington vs Leeds
20:00Wigan vs Hull
20:00Widnes Vikings vs St Helens

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