Super League: Huddersfield Giants 22-22 Leeds Rhinos
|Betfred Super League|
|Huddersfield (14) 22|
|Tries: Simpson 2, O'Brien Cons: Brough 5|
|Leeds (6) 22|
|Tries: Watkins, Hall, Handley 2, Cons: Watkins 3|
Huddersfield shared Super League's first draw of the season with champions Leeds in a dramatic game of twists and turns at the John Smith's Stadium.
Giants, who parted with coach Rick Stone in midweek, led 14-6 at half-time thanks to Jared Simpson's double, with Kallum Watkins scoring in reply.
Ryan Hall and Ash Handley tries put Leeds ahead but Adam O'Brien crossed to swing the game back Huddersfield's way.
Watkins converted Handley's try to level with three minutes to go.
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Leeds outscored their hosts in terms of tries but Watkins was unable to match Danny Brough's accuracy off the tee, and Brian McDermott's side drew their first game since the 2015 visit to Huddersfield.
Rick Stone's exit as head coach in midweek came after Huddersfield had won just twice in their opening seven games, but they responded well under interim head coach Chris Thorman.
Simpson played only two games for the Giants in 2017 but his return to the side yielded two tries out wide as he deputised for England winger Jermaine McGillvary.
Watkins showed his class to stretch out and score, while Handley teed up Hall for his score and then ran in a solo effort for his first.
O'Brien's finish was typical sniping from dummy-half, while the crucial late Rhinos score came from the creativity of Joel Moon's perfect pass.
Huddersfield interim head coach Chris Thorman:
"I haven't done anything specific in terms of coaching and game plan. But I wanted them to realise they have let a lot of people down.
"We got a response and a more assured, confident performance. And from where we have come from in the last month makes it hard to be too critical.
"But we didn't get the win and we need to start chalking up the W's. I ripped into them before the game and spoke to them with a fair bit of intent immediately before kick-off. Maybe this is what this team needs? And if they want someone to give them the hair dryer that's what I will do."
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott:
"Huddersfield had a reason to be good. They always get up for us, this week they were playing Leeds and the coach has just got sacked.
"The question is why weren't they that good in the previous weeks? Why weren't they that enthusiastic? They have questions to ask themselves.
"We didn't react well to some of that adversity to start with. It took us a while to get a grip of the game. Having said that we did fight back. But Huddersfield stayed determined all the way through and never dropped off.
"It's not all doom and gloom but no-one is cheering in the dressing room."
Huddersfield: McIntosh; Simpson, Turner, Murphy, Senior; Rankin, Brough; Ikahihifo, O'Brien, Clough, Roberts, Lawrence, Hinchcliffe.
Interchanges: Ta'ai, Smith, Dickinson, Hewitt.
Leeds: Walker; Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Hall; Moon, Myler; Mullally, Dwyer, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Delaney.
Interchanges: Ferres, Smith, Oledzki, Golding.
Referee: Jack Smith.