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Giant hiding for Rhinos
Huddersfield thrash Rhinos to head into play-offs on a high
Huddersfield thrashed Leeds 48-24 to complete their first league double over the Rhinos for more than half a century and go into the play-offs on a high.
The Giants re-discovered the form that enabled them to top the table after 12 rounds as they now prepare for their play-off trip to Hull FC next Sunday.
For the reigning Super League champions, however, the Rhinos must pick themselves up quickly for their clash with Wakefield next Saturday.
The Giants' biggest-ever Super League win over the Rhinos was a personal triumph for newly-appointed captain Danny Brough, who created his side's first two tries, scored a solo effort and kicked eight goals from 10 attempts for a 20-point haul.
And it came despite playing for 65 minutes a man short after the dismissal of forward Luke O'Donnell for a challenge on Leeds prop Ian Kirke which caused a 10-minute stoppage in play.
Kirke, a member of Leeds' Challenge Cup final team, had been introduced from the bench only moments earlier but he was forced to undergo lengthy treatment on the field before being despatched to hospital.
O'Donnell, who was also sent off against Leeds last season, received his red card from referee Thierry Alibert in farcical circumstances.
After initially allowing play to continue, Alibert stopped play after the next tackle to enable Kirke to receive treatment and, during a 10-minute stoppage, he delivered a warning to O'Donnell.
The Australian forward was then replaced by substitute Larne Patrick but several minutes later was recalled to the field by Alibert and, once Kirke had been carried from the field on a stretcher, was shown the red card.
Huddersfield were leading 10-0 at that stage after making a blistering start to their final game of the regular season with two tries in the first seven minutes.
Brough put full-back Leroy Cudjoe through a gap for the opening score and then hoisted a towering kick for left winger Luke George to claim his 15th try of the campaign.
Even down to 12 men, the Giants were much the livelier team and they stretched their lead after 28 minutes when right winger Jermaine McGillvary palmed back Brough's kick to the corner for centre Michael Lawrence to touch down.
Brough's second conversion brought up his 1,000th point but there was little sign of the points feast to come.
Leeds hinted at a fightback when skipper Kevin Sinfield combined with Weller Hauraki to get centre Jimmy Keinhorst over for a try, but Brough crucially struck on the stroke of half-time, intercepting Carl Ablett's pass to scoot 30 metres for an opportunist score.
Brough's conversion made it 22-4 and he increased his side's lead with two penalties early in the second half before second rower Brett Ferres broke clear to get hooker Luke Robinson over.
The Rhinos pulled a try back on the hour through winger Ryan Hall but Huddersfield simply went up a gear to produce some breathtaking rugby.
Stand-off Scott Grix touched down Brough's grubber kick and then flipped up a "miracle" pass for Robinson to claim his second try.
Cudjoe then finished off a glorious passing move to register his side's eighth try which made it 48-10.
The Rhinos staged a late rally which brought further tries to centre Kallum Watkins, Ablett and prop Jamie Peacock but they were little more than consolation efforts for the well-beaten champions.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalan Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Catalan Dragons 28 - 6 Castleford|
|London Broncos 36 - 46 Bradford|
|Friday 12th September|
|Salford 36 - 6 Widnes|
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