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Opinion: Shock team could still make the Grand Final

On Friday night, we saw just how good Leeds Rhinos can be against Huddersfield Giants.

The Rhinos built some early pressure in the game and after going close through James Bentley, a lovely short ball from Cameron Smith allowed Sam Walters to slice through and score evading Will Pryce’s effort to stop him.

Leeds Rhinos through terrific shape at Huddersfield for their next try. It created a one on one for Blake Austin. The league’s best halfback for clean breaks, Austin proved unstoppable as he tore through tackles before offloading to Richie Myler who had the simple job of scoring.

The halfback with the most clean breaks in the league added to that tally with one of the best dummies you will ever see. He arced through the defence before finding Ash Handley in support to score.

You would have strained your neck in the first half because almost all the action was in Huddersfield’s 20. The Rhinos had set after set down the Giants end and notched their fourth try with a lovely scrum move with Myler putting in the returning David Fusitu’a.

A great run by former Giant Aidan Sezer behind the ruck saw him tear through. He found Richie Myler in support who in turn found James McDonnell who arced round the cover to score.

By the start of the final quarter of the game, the result was clear but Leeds continued to press and scored their sixth try when Corey Johnson darted out of dummyhalf, bounced off a tackle and flicked a magnificent pass out to Sam Walters for his second try of a great game.

Leeds kept the great rugby flowing when Blake Austin carved through yet again. This time he found Myler in support who chipped ahead for Rhyse Martin to score.

The Tongan winger was back in the side after nine weeks out and claimed his second try of the game when he took a lovely kick to score in the corner.

The Rhinos then brought up the 50 point mark with another Rhyse Martin try who ended the night with 26 points. The try came from a chip from Myler and a mistake from Jermaine McGillvary, Martin capitalised.

Leeds were simply a joy to watch from start to finish against the Giants. That wasn’t a surprise however, when Leeds are good they are very good. It is just a case of when they are bad they are also very bad.

That doesn’t detract from the fact that when Leeds play at their best they can beat anyone. They have beaten and pushed the Champions in two games this season and beat the league leaders Catalans Dragons comfortably.

They also put 40 points on Wigan Warriors.

This is why I refuse to rule them out of making the Grand Final.

Unlikely admittedly, but nonetheless the Rhinos still have a solid chance.

They can beat anyone on their day and in some ways their brand of rugby is perfect for knockout rugby as we saw in 2022.

Also the pressure that their predicament comes with seems to bring the best out of the Rhinos.

On top of this, the Rhinos are actually in a better position now than in 2022 with three more points.

It wasn’t until July 3rd against Castleford Tigers last year at the Magic Weekend when Leeds really got into gear.

Watch out.

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