Senior's service leaves depleted Hull high and dry

Hull 30 Leeds 43
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The Independent Online

Keith Senior celebrated the 500th game of his career by doing as much as anyone to accelerate Leeds's pursuit of St Helens at the top of Super League, despite the gutsiest of efforts from Hull.

The Test centre was influential early on, setting up two tries and scoring one himself in the first 13 minutes. It was a deficit that the home side, for all their bravery, could never quite make up.

Senior sent Ryan Hall over after four minutes and it was then his back-handed pass to Kevin Sinfield that created Hall's second, his 20th try of the season in all games. Hull got one back through Shaun Berrigan before Senior shrugged off a series of tacklers to go over. The Rhinos then switched to the right wing for Ashley Gibson to release Scott Donald with a glorious one-handed pass. A scampering run from Rob Burrow set up Sinfield for the fifth Leeds try, followed by Sinfield's fifth conversion.

Hull, who had announced the signing of the Sydney Roosters' prop Mark O'Meley for next season, lacked the power to compete, although Danny Tickle scored before the break.

Hull, who had lost Richard Horne and Jamie Thackray in the first half, soon conceded a sixth try when Lee Smith's pass put Gibson in at the corner. That was when Hull began to fight back. Berrigan's kick produced a try for Gareth Raynor and Paul King's cut-out pass sent Kirk Yeaman over to cut the margin to 12. If Danny Houghton's break had produced another try, an astonishing comeback could have been completed. Instead, Burrow steadied the ship with a drop goal and Ali Lauitiiti sent Smith in for the final try.

Leeds were grateful for the contribution of their Senior citizen. He finished the game in the pack, which might be a pointer to his future. "I'm still enjoying my rugby," he said. "While it's like this I'll just keep going."

Hull R.Horne; Raynor, G Horne, Yeaman, Broughton; Thorman, Berrigan; Thackray, Lee, King, Tickle, Manu, Radford. Substitutes used: Houghton, Whiting, Burnett, Moa.

Leeds Smith; Donald, Gibson, Senior, Hall; Sinfield, Burrow; Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Worrall, Ablett. Substitutes used: Diskin, Ratu, Lauitiiti, Burgess.

Referee I Smith (Oldham).