Leeds Rhinos grinded out a crucial victory against Hull FC in their first game at home this season.
Leeds coach Brian McDermott made six changes to his side that lost at Widnes last time out. Tom Briscoe, Ryan Hall, Joel Moon, Carl Ablett, Anthony Mullally and Jack Walker came in for Harry Newman, Jimmy Keinhorst, Liam Sutcliffe, Cameron Smith, Mikolaj Oledzki and Brad Dwyer.
Lee Radford made four changes to his Hull side that beat Warrington last week. Jack Logan, Masi Matongo, Chris Green and Jordan Lane replaced Bureta Faraimo, Liam Watts, Josh Bowden and Jansin Turgut.
Leeds opened the scoring as captain Kallum Watkins rose above Jamie Shaul to collect a Richie Myler bomb and reach over the line. He converted his own try to put Leeds in an early 6-0 lead.
The Rhinos were looking good in the opening stages. Myler’s pass to Briscoe split the Hull defence and it was an easy finish for Briscoe in the corner. The conversion was wide but Leeds were 10-0 up after 14 minutes.
Briscoe was denied another try just minutes later for his foot being in touch.
Logan went over for Hull midway through the first half after getting on the end of a smart chip from Jake Connor. The video referee deemed him to be offside though.
Hull did get their first try on the scoreboard in the 28th minute. The in-form Dean Hadley latched onto a great little Marc Sneyd grubber to score. Sneyd converted and Hull trailed 10-6.
FC had another try ruled out on the brink of half time. Josh Griffin went over out wide but video referee Phil Bentham disallowed the effort for an alleged obstruction earlier in the play. Leeds were 10-6 to the good at the break.
Leeds also had a try chalked off just minutes after the restart. Myler was deemed to be offside before putting a little kick through for Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
The home side extended their lead in the 53rd minute. Myler grabbed his third assist of the game as he slipped Watkins through a gap who scored his second try, Leeds 14-6 Hull.
McDermott’s men were in again as England star Watkins got a slick pass inside to Briscoe who scored his second of the night. Watkins’ conversion gave Leeds a 20-6 advantage.
Hull quickly replied with a try of their own on the hour mark. Jordan Abdull showed nice footwork to step off his left foot and barge over the line from close range. Sneyd converted and Hull were only behind by eight points.
Radford’s outfit made it a nervy ending as Fetuli Talanoa was simply too strong for Ashton Golding and Myler as he crashed over in the corner. FC were just 20-16 down after 67 minutes.
Hull had a couple of sets near the Leeds line in the final ten minutes but the Rhinos managed to hang on for the two points in their first game at Emerald Headingley Stadium this year.
Leeds: 1 Golding; 2 Briscoe, 3 Watkins, 22 Handley, 5 Hall; 6 Moon, 7 Myler; 17 Garbutt, 9 Parcell, 10 Singleton, 11 Jamie Jones-Buchanan, 12 Ablett, 15 Delaney. Subs: 16 Mullally, 23 Ormondroyd, 24 Walker, 30 Walters.
Hull FC: 1 Shaul; 24 Logan, 4 Griffin, 3 Tuimavave, 5 Talanoa; 14 Connor, 7 Sneyd; 8 Taylor, 17 Washbrook, 29 Matongo, 21 Manu, 12 Minichiello, 11 Hadley. Subs: 15 Green, 16 Abdull, 20 Fash, 26 Lane.
Starman: Richie Myler – he provided a lot of fluidity in Leeds’ attack all game.