HUDDERSFIELD Giants maintained their solid start to the Reserve Championship season with a comfortable 34-20 triumph over Leeds Rhinos at Laund Hill.
Led magnificently by fit-again half-back Tom Hemingway, coach Paul Cook’s side were 22-4 ahead at the interval and had little real trouble holding on to that advantage after the break as they secured a third win from six starts.
It was only Hemingway’s second game since returning from major shoulder surgery and then a broken hand, and if the 21-year-old continues to build on this impressive comeback, he could soon be knocking on the Super League door.
“Everyone knows about Tom’s injury problems and you do need a good No7,” said Cook.
“Obviously, he’s still working on getting his timing back and his match fitness, but he’s certainly getting making good progress and that’s great news for everyone at the club.
“In fact, I thought all the senior players stood up and, overall, it was a good team effort.
“The lads who have dropped down have shown a good attitude as they try and get back into the first team.”
That group includes prop Michael Korkidas, above, and back rowers Larne Patrick and Joe Walsh.
On top of that, prop Chris Lawson – another young member of the Super League squad – played his first game after suffering a serious knee injury during a loan spell at National League Oldham last season.
By the time Lawson entered the fray his side were already well in control and on their way to opening up that 18-point interval advantage.
First to strike after just four minutes was newly-promoted Super League prop Adam Walker and, by half-time, winger Greg Johnson (twice), and centres Nathan Chappell and Josh Griffin had also crossed, with Hemingway landing one goal.
Patrick scored a converted try within five minutes of the restart to make it 28-4, but that seemed to result in the Giants taking their foot off the gas.
But a 76th-minute try from Walsh ended any hopes of a decisive late Rhinos’ rally and another solid success had been notched.
Unfortunately, Huddersfield’s Academy side were unable to carry on where the Reserves left off as they were beaten 30-12 by Leeds.
There was little to separate the sides at half-time, with the Rhinos holding a slender 12-8 advantage.
But the Giants were unable to keep up the challenge after the break.
The tries were scored by full-back Elliott Hodgson, centre Matty Garside and prop Ross Peltier.