THERE WILL be a world of difference between Sunday’s game and their visit to John Smith’s Stadium almost a year ago, but winger Ryan Hall says Leeds Rhinos are fully motivated.
Hall scored the try, after the final hooter had sounded, which snatched a 20-16 win at Huddersfield on September 25 last year and secured the Super League leaders’ shield.
Both teams went into that game with a chance of finishing in pole position.
Leeds are contending for top spot again, but only in the First Utility Qualifiers – and Giants need a win to keep alive their hopes of finishing third and avoiding the million pound game.
Rhinos have a 100 per cent record in the middle-eights with two games left and victory on Sunday would set up a decider for top spot when promoted Leigh Centurions visit Headingley Carnegie next Thursday.
That is only a small consolation prize, but it would restore some pride after a disappointing campaign for last year’s treble winners.
“It’s a bit different this year,” Hall said of Sunday’s game.
“We are playing for something else, but we have played ourselves into this position and we have to get through it.”
Rhinos have already ensured their Super League place for next year, but Hall added: “It would be nice to get seven out of seven.
“Being the team we are we would like to finish top of something.”
Hall will go into the game in upbeat mood after bagging a brace of tries in last week’s 32-0 win over Batley Bulldogs.
They were only his fifth and sixth touchdowns of an injury-hit campaign, but he insisted the team win was more important.
And Hall reckons Batley – who finished third in the Kingstone Press Championship -–should get more credit for their battling performance.
“The team has been doing well, so I’ve not been too worried about it,” he said.
“We did enough to win, but Batley had a good go.
“We’ve looked at some stats about what sort of game it was compared to previous weeks and it was a bit more high intensity.
“We had more tackles to do so to get a 32-0 win in a game like that was pleasing.”
Rhinos will need a similar defensive effort on Sunday against a side who scored 28 and 36 points against them in successive weeks earlier in the year.
“We are happy we are defending well,” said Hall, who described Rhinos’ two-month winning run as “pretty cool”.
“We only conceded eight the week before, against Salford.
“That is a good indication we are defending all right.
“We will need to be good this week because they are fighting for survival.
“They will really be going for it. It is always tough against Huddersfield and they are a good side.
“They have struggled like us this year, but we have started playing well towards the back end and they have got the potential to do that.”