There were much-needed victories for both Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants in the #Super League match day six fixtures, as they ensured their occupancy of the all-important top four places in the table. With end of season interest necessitating that the clubs get off to a quick start in their campaigns, both sides are now handily placed to challenge the likes of St Helens (top) and Warrington (third) who also faced each other this week, with Saints winning to maintain their pursuit of the title. Leeds' 26-14 win against Wigan on Friday cemented their second place, while the Giants continued their resurgence, by overcoming local rivals Wakefield with an impressive display by 44-14 on Sunday, which moved them up to fourth.
Leeds' rather surprisingly included Zak Hardaker at full-back in their side at Headingley, after he had admitted assaulting a student in the days leading up to the match, following the club reporting him to the police. He was free to play in the match after being released by the police without being charged. Both Hardaker and fellow Rhinos' teenager Elliot Minchella agreed to the payment of £200 in compensation and wrote a letter of apology to the student in the aftermath. Hardaker has had disciplinary issues in the past, having been warned for misconduct and thrown out of the England World Cup squad back in 2013.
Wigan opened the scoring in the Rhinos' match through Matty Smith, but were overhauled when the home side scored three tries of their own through Adam Cuthbertson, Ash Handley and the improving Brad Singleton. There was still time before the interval for the visitors to steal a try back from Joe Burgess, to reduce their deficit to just two points at half-time. That was as close as the Warriors got to Leeds though, as the hosts claimed a further two tries in the second period from Liam Sutcliffe and the lively Rob Burrow to clinch the points, keeping Wigan scoreless after the break.
The Giants seem to be back to their best after losing their first three games of the new season, as they won their third match on the bounce just down the road at Wakefield. The foundations for their success were set in the early stages, when Scott Grix ran in a quickfire hat-trick of tries within the first eight minutes, which was the quickest that anyone has done so in the history of the competition. Wakefield chipped away at their deficit by scoring two tries of their own from Dean Collis and Danny Kirmond, as the scoreline showed 18-8 to Huddersfield at the break.
The Wildcats were right back in the game after half-time when Jordan Crowther got his name on the score sheet, but that seemed to enliven the Giants as they moved through the gears and out of sight in the game by the end of the match. Four further tries without answer from Brett Ferres, the wily Danny Brough, Leroy Cudjoe and the Tongan Ukuma Ta'ai sealed the points for Huddersfield.