Opposition Profile – Huddersfield Giants
On Friday night, Leeds Rhinos travel to face eighth place Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium live on Sky Sports, kick off 7:45pm.
With five games to go until the end of the season, the two league points at stake are important for both sides. Only eight points separate bottom club London from fourth place Wigan coming into round 24, and a win for either Leeds or Huddersfield on Friday is important should they want to stay out of the relegation battle.
Ahead of this major clash in the Betfred Super League, find out more about Simon Woolford’s Huddersfield Giants:
After finishing last season in the Super 8s, 2019 has seen Huddersfield Giants drop down to sit two points above Leeds, Hull KR and London. Last week’s closely fought 18-12 win over Hull KR stopped the Giants from going level on points with the bottom three but they still aren’t out of the relegation fight yet.
Out of their nine wins in 2019, four of the Giants’ victories have come at the John Smith’s Stadium, the first of which was against Hull KR. That was only their second win of the season, after losing four out of the opening six matches. Woolford’s side have also beaten Castleford and London on home soil before defeating the Rovers again two weeks ago.
Should they win on Friday, the Giants have a chance of climbing the table. They will mostly play teams around them, including a trip to Salford and two home matches against Castleford and Catalans, so points are on offer for the West Yorkshire side to seal their place in Super League XXV.
In the first Super League meeting between the two sides at the John Smith’s Stadium, Graham Murray’s Leeds side produced one of the club’s highest away wins, running thirteen tries past the Huddersfield Giants in a 72-16 win. Richie Blackmore, Brad Godden and Leroy Rivett both scored twice, with Kevin Sinfield also scoring his first try for the club as the Rhinos finished second in the league.
Despite being relegated for the 2002 season, Huddersfield returned to Super League and got their first win over the Rhinos in 2003. After beating Wigan the week before, Tony Smith’s side would produce another shock result against Leeds; Stanley Gene and Brandon Costin both scoring twice in the 30-24 win.
More recently, the Giants have competed with the Rhinos, notably winning both games at the John Smith’s and Emerald Headingley in 2012 and 2013. The 2015 Super 8s match though will remain in the memories of Rhinos supporters; Ryan Hall taking a kick over the top from Danny McGuire to seal a 20-16 win and claim the League Leaders Shield.
Previous Meetings at the John Smith’s Stadium
Record against the Rhinos
Against the Rhinos, Huddersfield have found their best form since 2010. After only beating Leeds twice before (the 30-24 win at home in 2003 and a shock Challenge Cup semi final result in 2006), the Giants have won eleven times in the league over the last eight years, four of which have come at the John Smith’s Stadium (2012, 2013 and twice in 2016).
Prior to this, the Rhinos held a dominant record over the rival Yorkshire club, winning both home and away league fixtures ten times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009). Notably in 2004, Leeds only conceded 16 points against the Giants, with fourteen tries being scored by Rhinos players in the 38-6 and 42-10 victories.
Both sides have only met in once in the Play Offs, with the Rhinos winning 34-28 at the John Smith’s Stadium thanks to a hat trick from Zak Hardaker. There have also been three draws at the Giants’ ground; the league points being shared in 2014, 2015 and 2018.
In the News
Last week, four Giants players were named in the England Performance Squad. Matty English, Kruise Leeming, Darnell McIntosh and Oliver Wilson (pictured) have been named in the squad, which will take on Jamaica at Emerald Headingley on Sunday 20th October.
Winger Jermaine McGillvary will make his 300th career appearance on Friday night. The winger debuted for the Giants in 2010, making 240 appearances and also has 17 England caps.
Position: Full Back
Tackle Busts: 95
Position: Half Back
Kicks in general play: 150
Tackle Busts: 49
Last Time Out
A late Ash Handley try rescued a 22 all draw against the Giants last season. The home side led 14-6 at half time thanks to two tries from winger Jared Simpson but Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall and Handley all scored to put Leeds back in contention. A try for Adam O’Brien and a second penalty from Danny Brough looked to have secured the points for Huddersfield before Handley touched down for his second with four minutes left to play.
Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar has named his 19 man squad to travel to Huddersfield Giants this Friday, kick off 7.45pm.
Agar makes one change to the 19 man squad from the clash with Hull FC a fortnight ago with Richie Myler returning from suspension. He replaces Callum McLelland in the extended squad to face the Giants.
Oliver Roberts and Oliver Russell return to the Huddersfield Giants squad and Jermaine McGillvary looks set to gain his 300th appearance for the club. Tom Holmes and Sebastine Ikahihifo drop out.
Help us make it a home from home on Friday night and buy your tickets for the clash against the Giants.
Book your match tickets in advance and you’ll get 25% of your ticket price straight back in the form of a match credit. Across the Betfred Super League, away clubs get 25% commission on every ticket they sell for away games and the Rhinos will return that to every fan who pre-purchases, with a match credit that can be used towards the purchase of future tickets, travel and even 2020 Season Memberships.