Sheridansets the standard

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The Independent Online

Two tries from Ryan Sheridan set Leeds on the way to their 12th Super League victory in a row, further stacking the odds against Hull making the play-offs.

Two tries from Ryan Sheridan set Leeds on the way to their 12th Super League victory in a row, further stacking the odds against Hull making the play-offs.

Sheridan, rediscovering his best form in time to stake a claim for a place in England's World Cup squad, claimed the first two Leeds tries and played a role in two more as the Rhinos proved too good for the only team they had still to beat on their winning run.

Hull got away to a deplorable start that was entirely of their own making. Mick Jenkins' ankle high pass to Stanley Gene on the first tackle produced an inevitable knock-on and, from the scrum, the visitors' opened up obligingly to allow Sheridan to coast through for his first try, improved by Iestyn Harris' kick.

That could have been the prelude to a meek first-half collapse from Hull but instead they steadied the ship rather impressively, with Gene in particular willing to take Leeds on and their defence looking far more secure than it had in the opening minutes.

The try that brought them on level terms was a real beauty, Will Robinson handling twice in the move that ended with one of their promising youngsters, Craig Poucher, going over.

Richard Horne landed the conversion, plus a penalty when Darren Fleary went high on Jenkins, but Leeds moved ahead again with a try scored by Sheridan which was indicative of their power out wide. A lovely long pass from Harris began the move, Richie Blackmore holding off the tacklers to slip the ball inside for Graham Mackay, who served it up for Sheridan, with Harris again converting.

Well as they had competed in the first half, Hull's top five hopes began to look threadbare after the interval. Sheridan and Harris opened up play out wide for Andy Hay to slip the inside pass to Francis Cummins for one try, and six minutes later Hay and Cummins linked up again, with Karl Pratt providing the finishing touch.

When Graham Mackay took a pass from Daryl Powell for Leeds' fifth try, it seemed to be a question of how many more the Rhinos would score. The answer was only one, Blackmore latching on to a loose ball, and a depleted Hull got some reward with tries from Paul Broadbent and Adam Maher in the last 10 minutes.

Leeds only worry was the injury which forced Adrian Morley out of the game early, but their squad should have the depth to see them through.

Leeds Rhinos: Cummins; Mackay, Blackmore, Senior, Pratt; Harris, Sheridan; Fleary, Jackson, McDermott, Morley, Barnhill, Hay. Substitutes used: Powell, Sterling, Mathiou, Carvell

Hull FC: Poucher; Herron, Collins, Simon, Parker; Robinson, Horne; Broadbent, Jenkins, Felsch, Maher, Gene, Grimaldi. Substitutes used: Cooke, Craven, Wilson, King.

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