CAPTAIN Kevin Sinfield made a man of the match return as holders Leeds Rhinos thrashed Hudderesfield Giants 48-16 to power into the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Rhinos produced a dominant performance to record their first win in four games and end Huddersfield’s run of four unbeaten.
Sinfield was recalled after being left out for the previous two and kicked eight goals from nine attempts, while Ryan Hall returned from a fractured wrist suffered at Easter and crossed twice.
Giants recalled ankle injury victim Brett Ferres, but they were never in the game after being rocked by Leeds’ lightning start which saw them race into a 22-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Giants applied some early pressure, on the back of successive penalties after the hosts’ Adam Cuthbertson had a touchdown ruled out by the video referees, but Scott Grix’s offload near Leeds’ line was snapped up by Kallum Watkins and he raced 90 metres to score.
The England centre added a second try after Sinfield stepped through the defence and flicked out a clever pass and then Hall got in on the act at the opposite corner, from Zak Hardaker’s pass.
The home team’s fourth try came when Danny McGuire stabbed a kick through, Leroy Cudjoe hacked the ball on to a post and it bounced kindly for Paul Aiton to touch down, Sinfield adding his third conversion.
Huddersfield finished the half strongly and gave themselves hope five minutes before the break when Kyle Wood sliced through for an unconverted try.
McGuire extended Leeds’ advantage 10 minutes into the second half after some dazzling ball movement close to the visitors’ line.
That took the No 6 past the 1,000 points mark for Leeds. Sinfield converted and added a penalty to make it 30-4.
Cuthbertson stretched over from Rob Burrow’s pass and in the set from the penalty Hall scored his second after Jamie Peacock, McGuire (twice), Hall and Joel Moon had handled in the build-up.
Sinfield’s conversion made it 42-4. Giants scored consolation tries through Ferres and Grix, both off passes by Brough who added the goals, but it was Leeds who had the last laugh when Carl Ablett intercepted, from Brough, to go over for their eighth try and Sinfield - named man of the match - completed the scoring with then conversion.
The tie was memorable for touchjudge Jonathan Roberts, of Leeds, who took over in the middle for the second half, after Phil Bentham was unable to continue due to a hamstring injury.
Roberts is qualified to referee in the Championship, but has never been in charge of a Super League game.