Super League: Huddersfield Giants 21-12 Leeds Rhinos

Betfred Super League

Huddersfield (16) 21

Tries: Halsall, Naiqama, Lolohea Goals: Russell 2, Pryce 2 Drop-goal: Connor

Leeds (12) 12

Tries: Hooley, Handley Goals: Martin 2

Huddersfield survived a second-half onslaught from fellow play-off chasers Leeds to keep their hopes alive thanks to some stubborn defence.

Giants crossed through Sam Halsall, Kevin Naiqama and ex-Rhino Tui Lolohea to lead 16-12 at the break, with Luke Hooley and Ash Handley replying.

Leeds lost James Bentley to injury in the first half but threw plenty at the hosts after the break without reward.

Will Pryce's penalty goals and a Jake Connor drop goal saw Giants to victory.

Bentley's injury, which prompted a lengthy stoppage while he was placed in a neck brace and onto a stretcher, saw him taken to hospital for assessment.

Huddersfield moved level with Leeds and Hull FC on 20 points, although three other teams vying for the probable two spots remaining - Salford, Hull KR and Warrington - are four points clear.

With stakes high and the race for the top six so tight, this had the feel of a shootout or at least a game which Huddersfield had to win if they were to maintain admittedly faint hopes, and Ian Watson's side did just that while denting Leeds' own.

When Huddersfield found a route to the line in the opening 40, Connor proved an influence in taking a bounce pass to the left and feeding Halsall, while Lolohea finished off his own kick after Leeds failed to deal with it.

There was consternation about Naiqama's try between those scores as Leeds felt he had been held, but referee Marcus Griffiths disagreed to award the try.

Esan Marsters twice knocked on in good positions as Huddersfield passed up chances, and Leeds showed their attacking threat by finishing off to bring the game closer.

Sam Walters released Hooley with a fine offload while Handley went in after a destructive carry by Sam Lisone scattered the home defence.

On the back of that resurgence before half-time, Rohan Smith's Leeds had numerous chances and repeat sets on the line but fumbled the final pass, with Hooley and former Huddersfield half Aidan Sezer among the culprits.

Giants took their chances to tip the scoreboard on through the boots of Pryce and Connor, doing enough to pick up the points.

Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson:

"Olly Russell has done something bad to his hand. He might have a fracture on his hand, we'll have to wait and see. It looks pretty bad.

"It's huge, the character and the grit the boys showed was a credit.

"We have to show that character week in week out. It was chaotic as hell in the second half.

"It was a real gritty game. We're not focusing on four games down the line, we're focusing one week at a time and it's served us well.

"We fell off badly last week and got beat by the better team. This week we've shown some real resilience and character."

Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith:

[On Bentley] "He's OK, he regained consciousness. He was in a bad way for a bit. He's awaiting a scan for his head and neck.

"But there's signs he will be OK. He was talking to the doctor before he got into the ambulance.

"There was a huge amount of spirit there [from Leeds] in the second half, including a drop goal didn't go through.

"The kicker [Connor] and all his mates were laughing that it didn't go through. Everybody said it didn't go through, except the decision-makers."

Huddersfield: Connor; Marsters, J. Bibby, Naiqama, Halsall; Lolohea, Russell; Hill, Milner, Ashworth, Cudjoe, McQueen, Yates

Interchanges: Pryce, Ikahihifo, Greenwood, Hewitt.

Leeds: Hooley; Olpherts, Roberts, Newman, Handley; Martin, Sezer; Oledzki, O'Connor, Holroyd, Bentley, Walters, C. Smith

Interchanges: Donaldson, Lisone, Gannon, Ruan

Referee: Marcus Griffiths.