A disastrous start ended Rhinos’ hopes of a third-successive win as Rohan Smith’s side trailed 22-0 after 31 minutes.
Super League takes another break this weekend - its fourth since mid-April - to avoid a clash with Saturday’s mid-season international and Leeds are back in action at champions St Helens on Thursday, June 23. Here’s five talking points.
1: Reality check. The game at Huddersfield was a fair indication of where Rhinos are at the moment. Expectations were raised by the previous week’s 40-4 win away to Warrington, but that was against a struggling side low on confidence. Giants are the opposite and it showed. There’s possibly not a huge difference between the sides from fifth to 11th in the table, but Leeds still have a huge amount of work to do to get on a par with the top four.
2: Consolation. They don’t get anything for it but, after Giants’ early purple patch, Rhinos matched them for the final half an hour, scoring three tries to one. The second half was a big improvement and, though Giants may have eased off with the game won, that’s an indication Smith is able to address problems in games and put them right, which is encouraging.
3: One-man team. Leeds tend to play well whenKruise Leeming does. With him ruled out through illness, they weren’t nearly as effective against Giants and their previous poor performance was at Salford when he played in the halves. The hooker is hugely influential, but Rhinos can’t be reliant on one individual.
4: Newman in the side. Harry Newman’s return, following hamstring surgery, was a big positive. He was, naturally, a little rusty, but looked comfortable and confident, got through unscathed and will make Rhinos a better team when back in the 13.
5: More threat. Rhinos have scored at least three tries in three successive games, for the first time this season. Their attack is improving, though they took a backwards step defensively at Giants.