Gale’s golden-point drop goal seals Leeds re­cov­ery

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Rugby League - By Ross Hep­pen­stall

Luke Gale’s dra­matic drop goal capped a re­mark­able fight­back in which Leeds over­turned Hud­der­s­field’s 20-point lead to seal a gold­en­point ex­tra-time win.

The Eng­land scrum-half was re­leased from the Rhi­nos’ vaunted academy as a teenager and forced to rein­vent him­self at Don­caster be­fore mak­ing his way back into the Su­per League ranks with Lon­don.

Fur­ther stints with Brad­ford and Castle­ford un­der­lined Gale’s class and he could not re­sist the op­por­tu­nity to re­join Leeds, his home­town club, at the start of this sea­son.

Three min­utes into ex­tra time, the 32-year-old held his nerve to send a well-flighted one-pointer be­tween the posts to set­tle mat­ters and cap a stun­ning re­turn for Su­per League af­ter its 20-week hia­tus.

And how Richard Agar’s side cel­e­brated. They leapt about like wild men and, af­ter a dif­fi­cult cou­ple of sea­sons in which Brian McDer­mott and Dave Furner were sacked, are on the up again.

Af­ter five rounds, they stand at the Su­per League sum­mit and can start dream­ing of adding to their record eight Su­per League ti­tles.

Head coach Agar said: “The game wholly went to show that mo­men­tum can be key.

“We felt Hud­der­s­field came out and smacked us in the mouth, and I

Ris­ing again: Leeds play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter Luke Gale’s kick (be­low) clinched vic­tory thought we didn’t re­spond well at all. We threw cau­tion to the wind but I didn’t think there was enough time to come back.

“But Luke has done what he has done be­fore and I’m pleased to get the win. We showed a never-say­die at­ti­tude and real spirit.”

The match, al­though staged at Head­in­g­ley, was tech­ni­cally a home match for Hud­der­s­field as fix­tures are played as dou­ble or triple head­ers at the same ground.

Louis Se­nior and a Dar­nell McIn­tosh dou­ble put Hud­der­s­field 14-6 up de­spite Kon­rad Hur­rell’s try for Leeds in a match played un­der new rules de­signed to speed the game up.

McIn­tosh added his third and Se­nior his se­cond af­ter half-time to es­tab­lish a 26-6 lead with 18 min­utes re­main­ing.

Leeds some­how clawed it back with Gale, Luke Briscoe, Alex Mel­lor and Hur­rell tries to take the game to ex­tra time, where Gale proved the hero.

One con­cern for Leeds was James Don­ald­son, who was with­drawn on a stretcher with a lower back in­jury.

Hud­der­s­field would have gone top with vic­tory and their head coach, Si­mon Woolford, could not hide his frus­tra­tion.

He said: “Our dis­ci­pline went out of the win­dow in that last 15 min­utes. We had enough op­por­tu­ni­ties to put that game to bed but we weren’t good enough to do it.”

Hud­der­s­field Giants A Gold­ing; L Se­nior, J War­dle, J Turner, D McIn­tosh; L Gaskell, A Sezer; J Gavet, A O’Brien, M English, K Ed­wards, S Wood, M Lawrence. Re­place­ments T Holmes, O Wil­son, S Matagi, A Mur­phy. Leeds Rhi­nos R Myler; L Briscoe, H New­man, K Hur­rell, A Han­d­ley; L Gale, R Lui; A Seu­man­ufa­gai, B Dwyer, M Oledzki, A Mel­lor, R Martin, M Prior.

Re­place­ments C Smith, J Don­ald­son, A Cuth­bert­son,

K Leem­ing. Ref­eree Robert Hicks

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