Hull 18 Leeds 6: Inspired Hull go fourth as Rhinos slip up yet again

 

The champions took their losing run to four matches as Hull’s inspired display lifted them into Super League’s top four for the first time this season.

Superbly marshalled by their half-backs, Daniel Holdsworth and Aaron Heremaia, Hull dominated the first half, building up an 18-point lead they never seriously looked like surrendering despite a big improvement by the Rhinos after the break.

To make matters worse for Leeds, they lost Kallum Watkins and Danny McGuire with worrying injuries. The Rhinos’ traditional mid-season crisis has arrived with a vengeance, while Hull, with six wins in their last seven, are emerging as dark horses.

Given their contrasting recent form – they had won three while Leeds had been losing three – Hull and their supporters sensed the chance of a notable scalp.  They felt even more upbeat when their side took the lead on two minutes with an exceptional try, stemming from Shannon McDonnell’s break and Ben Crooks’ tumbling off-load to Joe Westerman. Holdsworth added the conversion and a penalty.

Far more spectacular was a second try, created by Tom Lineham plucking a threatening Kevin Sinfield kick out of the air and finished by Crooks.

As half-time approached they were on the brink of being out of it, when Danny Houghton scrambled over from dummy-half.

Leeds needed to start the second half in a completely different frame of mind. Instead, they continued to concede too many penalties.

Zak Hardaker’s break gave them their best chance, but Hull’s tackling was relentless. On the hour, they were finally cracked by Liam Sutcliffe’s pass to Brett Delaney.

Hull should have put the game to bed through Kirk Yeaman’s break, or Holdsworth’s missed drop-goal, but it did not matter.

Hull: McDonnell; Lineham, Crooks, Yeaman, Briscoe; Holdsworth, Heremaia; O’Meley, Houghton, Green,   Ellis, Westerman, Pitts. Substitutes used: Lynch, Galea, Watts, Johnson.

Leeds: Hardaker; Vickery, Watkins, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Burrow, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Clarkson. Substitutes used: McShane, Kirke, Singleton, Sutcliffe.

Referee: J Child (Dewsbury).

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