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Super League: Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos share points
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Leeds ended a run of five straight defeats to Huddersfield as the two Super League heavyweights fought out a thrilling 12-12 draw at the John Smith's Stadium.
The Rhinos led 6-4 at the break, Kevin Sinfield converting Stevie Ward's early try and Danny Brough failing to add the extras after Jodie Broughton got over for a try on his debut.
Brough and Sinfield exchanged second-half penalties before Joe Wardle's superb finish in the corner with 12 minutes left put the Giants ahead for the first time, with Brough converting from the touchline.
Four minutes later Kallum Watkins' try levelled it up again, Sinfield missed with the conversion and both sides failed with two drop-goal attempts apiece to win it in the closing minutes.
Huddersfield may may feel the more aggrieved after dominating the game for long periods and having four tries disallowed.
An early knock-on by Huddersfield full-back Scott Grix deep inside his own half put his side in trouble and Leeds took advantage when second rower Stevie Ward took Sinfield's pass to stretch out for the game's first try after only six minutes.
Sinfield's goal made it 6-0 but the Giants went on to dominate the rest of the first half, with big Eorl Crabtree tearing huge holes in the Rhinos defence and Brough tormenting them with his array of handling and kicking skills.
Leeds' tackling held firm, although their defence lived a charmed life at times, with Huddersfield having three tries disallowed.
Grix finished off a break by second rower Jason Chan but was denied by an obstruction in the build-up while centre Joe Wardle had two efforts disallowed, one for a forward pass and the other for a foot over the dead-ball line as he pounced on an error from his England team-mate Kallum Watkins.
The pressure eventually paid off nine minutes before the break when England second rower Brett Ferres worked the ball free from a two-man tackle and Grix combined with Wardle to get Broughton over at the corner.
Brough failed with the difficult conversion attempt and was also off target with a 40-metre penalty on the stroke of half-time, when the visitors led 6-4.
It was a similar story in the second half as Leeds found themselves penned inside their own half and Huddersfield had another try disallowed when winger Jermaine McGillvary was denied by a knock-on from his centre Leroy Cudjoe.
It was nothing more than they deserved when the Giants finally drew level on 53 minutes with a penalty from Brough, awarded for a high tackle on scrum-half Luke Robinson by England forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan, making his first appearance of the season.
On a rare foray into the Huddersfield 20-metre area, Leeds managed to get the ball out to England winger Tom Briscoe but he was easily bundled into touch.
The visitors began to see more of the ball, though, and they edged back in front on 64 minutes with a penalty from Sinfield awarded for interference in the ruck by Giants prop Antonio Kaufusi.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the impressive Robinson produced another of his trademark darting runs to open up the Leeds defence and Wardle took Chris Bailey's cut-pass to cross at the corner.
Brough landed the touchline conversion to give his side the lead for the first time but the Rhinos levelled four minutes later when Watkins took a superb pass from full-back Zak Hardaker to touch down in the corner.
Sinfield was unable to add the goal and he was also short with a long-range drop-goal attempt.
Leeds half-back Danny McGuire was then off target with a similar attempt and Sinfield saw his second effort rebound off an upright before Brough failed with two late attempted one-pointers of his own to leave the scores tied.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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