Leeds bounce back with comfortable win over Hull KR

14th February 2020, Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, England; Betfred Super League, Leeds Rhinos v Hull Kingston Rovers : Cameron Smith (22) of Leeds Rhinos goes over for a try

Luke Gale captained Leeds to a comfortable 52-10 win over Hull KR at Headingley.

Making just his second appearance for his hometown club, Gale stood in as skipper in the absence of Stevie Ward and Rhyse Martin and scored eight goals in the nine-try win.

Centre Harry Newman and loose forward Cameron Smith, two of the Rhinos’ bright young stars, scored two tries apiece as the home side cut loose against a disappointing Rovers outfit.

Hull KR’s former Leeds coach Tony Smith was forced to make a late change before kick-off when half-back Jamie Ellis pulled out in the warm-up, recalling Jordan Abdull into his starting line-up, and the disruption appeared to have a destabilising effect.

They were out-muscled up front and sorely missed the attacking threat of injured full-back Adam Quinlan.

Showing no sign of rust from their enforced week off, the Rhinos were red hot from the start as loose forward Cameron Smith and hooker Brad Dwyer both got over the Rovers line inside the first six minutes without managing to get the ball down.

Newman finally opened the scoring, finishing off break by Luke Briscoe, and added a second after more excellent work from his winger, who batted back the ball from Gale’s kick.

Although the tries came out on the right, Leeds looked especially threatening through blockbusting left centre Konrad Hurrell and he helped create the next try in unorthodox fashion as his grubber kick struck a post and Smith followed up to get the touch.

Gale kicked his third conversion and extended his side’s lead to 20-0 with a penalty before the visitors pulled a try back two minutes before half-time through winger Greg Minikin.

Ryan Brierley was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt and the fightback was snuffed out within seven minutes of the second half.

In a similar start to the first half, Leeds forwards Matt Prior and Mikolaj Oledzki were both held up over the line before the pressure told with full-back Jack Walker skipping out of Abdull’s attempted tackle to touch down.

The exciting Newman then carved out an 80-metre try for left winger Ash Handley and stand-off Robert Lui combined with Walker to get Smith over for his second.

Gale maintained his accuracy with the boot to take the lead out to 38-4 before Abdull pounced on a loose ball for Rovers’ second try, which was goaled by Brierley.

It was nothing more than a consolation for the visitors, though, as their suspect defence cracked three more times in the last 12 minutes to gift further tries to Hurrell and substitutes James Donaldson and Richie Myler.

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