A win for Hull FC would see them move back ahead of the Castleford Tigers and into fifth spot in the table, whilst today’s visitors, the Leeds Rhinos are still in all sorts of trouble at the wrong end of the table and still looking to secure their Super League position for next season.
Someone wise soul once said ´if the Rhinos can keep thirteen on the field for eighty minutes´ they could be dangerous´, but it´s been a long time since they´ve not been well represented at the disciplinary panel on a weekly basis. Perhaps today would be the day.
The bookies certainly thought so and had given the home side a four-point start on the handicap coupon. Making the Rhinos the favourites to pick up the points and lift themselves into eighth position ahead of the Magic Weekend.
After intense early pressure from the Rhinos, Mikolaj Oledzki scored the opener for the Rhinos on six minutes as he went in under the sticks after busting through his tackler to score under the sticks Rhyse Martin added the extras for a 6-0 lead to quieten the home crowd.
Ash Handley had an unopposed walk-in try on thirteen minutes after taking a miss-out pass for a far too simple try. Martin was again accurate with the boot for 12-0, Leeds looking head and shoulder above Hull in the opening minutes.
Leeds looked favourites to extend their lead on twenty, but Darnell McIntosh intercepted an Aidan Sezer pass and sprinted the length of the field avoiding the chasing Handley to score. McIntosh pushed his conversion wide of the extras, FC still eight adrift.
Within two minutes FC were in again as Connor Wynne sliced a grubber inside which was pounced upon by Danny Houghton to ground under the sticks as the Hull players lined up to score. McIntosh added the conversion for 10-12.
After leaking two quick tries, the Rhinos redoubled their defensive efforts. With the clock showing twenty-nine Handley went in for his second after a Leeds scrum forty from the Hull line after Kruise Leeming went from the back of the scrum to create the overlap to put the winger in. There was some suspicion of a forward pass missed by the officials but when Martin failed to add the conversion the Rhinos were a single converted try ahead.
But from the kick off the Rhinos went in again after breaking downfield from the kick off. Leeming crashed over the line and grounded by the posts, the FC fans baying for a double movement ignored by the officials. Martin added the conversion for 22-10 with just over six minutes on the first half clock.
Cameron Scott knocked-on in the act of scoring on thirty-six after a forceful tackle from Handley, Scott injured in the tackle.
The Rhinos should have ended the half with a fifth try but Liam Sutcliffe dropped the ball ten from the line after a rolling attack broke through the Airlie Birds defence. The visitors taking a twelve-point lead into the interval.
Hull FC drew first blood in the second half as Chris Satae went through the Leeds defence from twenty metres out. Josh Griffin added the conversion from in front of the sticks. The margin back to six points.
It was end-to-end stuff as Kruise Leeming spotted an opportunity to dart from dummy half and go through the Hull defence and ground under the sticks as the two defenders both went in the wrong direction. Martin added the conversion for 28-16.
A Cameron Smith chip kick on fifty-seven was collected by Richie Myler who scored in the corner as the Rhinos further extended their lead. Martin added the conversion from wide, Leeds eighteen points ahead.
Next in for the Rhinos was Sutcliffe, taking a Myler pass to go over. Martin added the conversion as the Rhinos hit forty points.
It was a procession of tries as Fusitu´a as the winger rose to take a kick to the corner and score through an almost non-existent defence. Martin added the conversion for 46-16, the Rhinos up to eighth in the table, the FC fans heading for the exits.
Ash Handley got his hat-trick, and the Rhinos the half-century, after taking a Myler kick to the corner and pushing Darnell McIntosh out of the way before grounding. Martin added the goal.
Ash Handley got the Rhinos tenth and his own fourth try of the afternoon on seventy-four with Jamie Shaul left in a crumpled heap on the floor, the Airlie Birds spirit broken. Martin was unable to add the extras but it was a forty point lead.
Handley’s fifth came from a Rhinos cut-out pass as he went past Shaul again to bring up the sixty points. Martin added the conversion for 62-16, the Rhinos biggest win at Hull in the Super League era.
After a close first half the Rhinos demolished a woeful Hull FC side in the second half as they ran in over a point a minute. On todays showing it´s Hull who are in all sorts of trouble as they lost their fourth consecutive game, the Rhinos looking sensational and ruthless, but their fans will spend the next week hoping that this isn´t another false dawn. It all looks like the Magic Weekend will be very interesting.
Hull FC: Shaul, McIntosh (T, G), Griffin (G), Scott, Wynne, Hookem, Lovodua, Evans, Houghton (T), Taylor, Lane, Sao, Johnstone. Subs: Balmforth, Brown, Fash, Satae (T).
Leeds Rhinos: Myler (T), Handley (5T), Sutcliffe (T), Hardaker, Fusitu´a (T), Sezer, Austin, Oledzki (T), Leeming (2T), Prior, Bentley, Martin (9G), Donaldson. Subs: Walters, Gannon, Smith, O´Connor.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 4-12, 8-12, 10-12, 10-16, 10-20, 10-22 : HT : 14-22, 16-22, 16-26, 16-30, 16-32, 16-36, 16-40, 16-44, 16-46, 16-50, 16-52, 16-56, 16-60, 16-62: FT.
Lead Exchanges: Leeds.
Referee: Liam Moore.