The Debrief: Leeds back to winning ways, Hull FC improve, Rhinos youngster shines on debut

Ben Olawumi
Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos celebrate a try in 2024

Leeds Rhinos secured an 18-12 win over Hull FC at the MKM Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with that the hosts’ beaten for a seventh consecutive game across all competitions.

With plenty of talking points from the Round 9 clash, Love Rugby League has picked out a few in The Debrief.

Leeds back to winning ways

All the talk pre-match – as it has been for a number of months now – was about Hull’s dreadful run of results, but Leeds themselves had lost their last two before today and four of the last five across all competitions.

It wasn’t pretty in East Yorkshire, but Rohan Smith’s side got the job done to stop the rot, and are now back within two points of the play-off spots they’ll be targeting.

Plenty of room for improvement, but the main thing is that they got the job done, with Riley Lumb (2) and captain Cameron Smith getting their tries. Rhyse Martin was three from three with the boot. Morgan Smith and Lewis Martin got Hull’s two tries.

Rhinos youngster shines on debut

Riley Lumb
Riley Lumb in action for Leeds Rhinos during a pre-season game in 2023

A big reason as to why they got over the line and left with a win this afternoon was Rhinos ace Lumb, who stood out on debut and scored two of their three tries. The winger – who can also play full-back – doesn’t turn 20 till December, but put in a performance that displayed the experience of someone way beyond his teenage years, earning Sky Sports’ man of the match medal.

Considering he did so just seven days after his very first senior game, featuring last Sunday for dual-registration partners Halifax Panthers as they were thumped 46-0 at The Shay by Sheffield Eagles, it’s some going. Prior, Lumb’s only other senior experience was being the Rhinos’ unused 18th man in their last game of 2023.

The 19-year-old’s first try this afternoon was sensational to watch, a solo effort which saw him fend off numerous FC bodies to get over the line. The second wasn’t quite as glamorous as he grounded a kick through, but getting there ahead of the boot of Hull’s Jack Walker and getting something on the ball himself while it was bobbling around wasn’t an easy task. One to watch.

Hull FC improve but it’s not enough

From where they’ve been in recent weeks in particular, this was a huge improvement from the Black & Whites. They were in the contest right the way through, and had Leeds twitching on a number of occasions, forcing errors from their opponents and getting some good field position.

New signings have helped FC, and we thought Hull KR loanee Yusuf Aydin put in a very good showing as well as a number of the youngsters alongside him. Regardless of who’s at the helm, they need to use this as a bit of a page turner now. If you are going to get beat, which they may well do most weeks, then put up a fight and don’t roll over.

Lewis Martin
Hull FC’s Lewis Martin (right)

It actually feels like the hosts will have gained more in defeat today than Leeds in victory. They’ve got four away games on the trot now, and one of those is against bottom club London Broncos, the only team they’ve beaten so far this season. Picking up a win in that Round 11 clash is something that must happen, it’s as simple as that.

Errors aplenty

This afternoon’s game wasn’t one for the ages, and was littered with errors from both sides.

According to the Super League website at the time of writing just a few minutes after the final hooter at the MKM Stadium, there were 27 errors made in total across the 80 minutes. Watching it, it felt like that too.

Hull were responsible for 11 of those with 17 errors coming from those in Leeds shirts.

Technical issues during a Super League game (AGAIN)

Whatever technology they use when a video referee decision gets made either needs simplifying, correcting, improving or further tuition is needed. For the second time this weekend, after problems in Saturday’s game between Salford Red Devils and Warrington Wolves, there were technical issues with the screen.

Having stuttered throughout the game whenever it was needed, Leeds’ second try – which was given – had to be signalled manually by referee Liam Rush.

That was after the screen decided to show a replay of itself rather than displaying the ‘TRY’ graphic it should have done. Technology, eh!