21 Jun 2024

Leeds Rhinos U18s 36 Huddersfield Giants U18s 28

Leeds Rhinos Under-18s ran out 36-28 winners over Huddersfield Giants at AMT Headingley, but the young Rhinos were forced to work hard for the result.

Before the men’s team took to the field for the Global MND Awareness Day clash against Leigh, where the club and fans joined together to celebrate the life of Rob Burrow CBE, the young Rhinos got their chance to pay tribute to Burrow, who coached the club’s Academy and Reserves for three years.

Coming into the game, current Academy boss Tony Smith made four changes to the side that faced St Helens under a month ago. After a long layoff with injury, hooker Elliott Fox made his Academy debut off the bench. Dylan Hutchinson was named at full back in place of Joe Diskin and Joe Phillips returned in the forwards after missing the Saints game through injury. Phillips, Marcus Qareqare, Jayemm Oladipupo and Presley Cassell were all looking for big performances coming into the fixture, after the quartet were included in Paul Anderson’s England Academy side for the upcoming game against France.

The home side set the opening precedent with a score after three minutes. On their first attacking set of the game, light hands from Presley Cassell put Joe Butterfield clean through the Huddersfield line, but George Brown was caught by Giants full back Logan Blacker as Brown took the prop’s offload. The Rhinos didn’t panic though and slick handling proved to be Huddersfield’s undoing as Brown found a seam to break through and score.

Dylan Hutchinson came close to adding a second try off the back of a knock on by Bailey Fitzgibbon. Making space on the edge with an overlap, the Leeds full back looked certain to score, but desperate defence held him up. After holding Blacker up over their own line as the Giants looked to muster a response, the Rhinos added their second of the game; Callum Webster going over in the corner to make the score 10-0 after 20 minutes.

It was soon back to back scores for the Rhinos, thanks to substitute Jayemm Oladipupo breaking the Giants defensive line. Although the prop showed a good burst of pace, he held the ball up well to offload to team mate Noah Whittingham who got Leeds’ third try.

Beau Morrison hit back for the Giants as the centre took Bailey Fitzgibbon’s batted pass to get over the try line, but Leeds had the last laugh. Benefitting from ill-discipline from the Giants, the Rhinos probed the Huddersfield goal line before Declan White found room to wrestle his way to the line. Thomas added two more conversions to send the home side into half time with a 22-6 advantage.


A perfect start to the second half saw Leeds punish a strip on Jacob Stead as Hutchinson finally got his score; the full back finding space to slide over to give the home side a 20 point margin.

Blacker responded for the Giants, but the Rhinos kept up the tempo; Harry Smith breaking through to get into the backfield and then slipping the offload for Whittingham to get his second of the game.

The contest plateaued as both sides settled into a stalemate as the game approached the hour mark, but the Giants were injected by the introduction of Andrew Gill, who darted over the line with 20 minutes left. Full back Blacker also found himself over the line for the second time to close the score to eight points.

Pressure on the Rhinos soon waned and the home side took their chance as good ball movement from pivots Smith and Brown sent the ball wide to Thomas, who fed Harry Taylor to score in the corner to move the score to 36-22.

A 40/20 kick from Brown was unlucky not to produce points for the Rhinos, but Leo Ward got over for a consolation effort for the Giants before the final whistle blew.

Match Facts

Rhinos U18

1. Dylan Hutchinson, 2. Harry Taylor, 3. Marcus Qareqare, 4. Harley Thomas, 5. Callum Webster, 6. George Brown, 7. Harry Smith, 8. Joe Phillips, 14. Mason Corbett, 10. Joe Butterfield, 11. Jacob Stead, 12. Bobby Hartley, 13. Presley Cassell

Subs: 14. Elliott Fox, 15. Jayemm Oladipupo, 16. Noah Whittingham, 17. Declan White (18th Man – Dax Millington)

Tries: Brown (3), Webster (19), Whittingham (25, 51), White (37), Hutchinson (43), Taylor (68)

Goals: Thomas 4/7


Giants U18

1. Logan Blacker, 2. Roman Sharma, 4. Matthew Hanley, 3. Beau Morrison, 5. Bailey Fitzgibbon, 6. Jack Ward, 7. Leo Ward, 8. Charlie Land, 9. Monty Lumb, 10. Patrick Houston, 11. Max Merta, 12. Archie Sykes, 13. Jacob Algar

Subs: 14. Andrew Gill, 16. Harley Firth, 15. Zach Brown, 17. Noah Broadbent (18th Man – Samuel Beety)

Tries: Morrison (33), Blacker (46, 62), Gill (58), L.Ward (76)

Goals: L.Ward 4/5

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