Hull KR 20-28 Leeds Rhinos: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

In a real four-pointer in the race for play-off rugby, Leeds made it four wins in a row to open up a three point lead between them and the chasing pack in a real thriller against Hull KR.

Highlights:

Matt Parcell makes fast start against former side
It certainly wasn’t a good start from the Rhinos. After nearly knocking on at the kick-off, in their second set Ash Handley was punished for an incorrect play-the-ball and former Rhino Matt Parcell punished them further as he darted over from close range taking advantage of some sluggish marker defence.

Another former Rhino compounds Leeds’ misery
The opening 10 minutes was all Hull KR as the heaped on the pressure. Leeds valiantly held on to a point till a last tackle play saw the ball squirt free. Jez Litten picked it up and drilled the ball behind for Ryan Hall to score.

Brad Dwyer does he best Rob Burrow impression
Leeds may have been up against one of their former great halfbacks in Hull KR interim boss Danny McGuire, but Brad Dwyer mimicked McGuire’s old partner in crime with a lovely darting run behind the ruck showing great pace to tear through the Robins’ defence. It was reminiscent of a try Burrow scored at this ground in 2016.

Litten’s boot again devastates Rhinos
Despite the fact Hull KR had no natural halves, one of their stand ins was doing a sufficient job with the boot as Jez Litten’s kicking game led to another try after creating Ryan Hall’s earlier effort. This time it was a similar kick for Kane Linnett to score.

Myler carves through
Leeds were well under the pump in the first 25 minutes but were able to stay in touch with Hull KR when the scored a second try. This one came from a lovely Blake Austin pass created enough space for Richie Myler to carve through for their second try of the game.

Myler doubles his money
When Leeds got their hands on the ball, they scored points that was the story of the first half. After a series of lovely offloads, Blake Austin carved through and his pass saw Leeds pick up an extra set as Ryan Hall hit it down. A few tackles later a darting run from Brad Dwyer created enough space for Richie Myler to slice through for a second.

Leeds again absorb the pressure and strike at the other end
If you wanted a microcosm of the first 40, the first four minutes of the second half did that perfectly. Leeds again looked on the back foot as Hull KR rolled them down field but the Rhinos just held on. Then Hull KR gave away two penalties and on the back of them a darting run from Harry Newman inside coupled with a pass from and Mikolaj Oledzki created enough space for Morgan Gannon to slice through.

Gannon shows surprise pace
Morgan Gannon is one of the best young players in Super League but no one knew he had the legs to go 50 metres to score but he showed that tonight to double his money and give Leeds a 14-point lead. After good defence forced a knock on from Sam Wood, Morgan Gannon picked the ball up and darted down field to score.

Sam Wood gives the Robins hope
After Leeds scored 22 consecutive points to turn a 14-6 deficit to lead 28-14, but Hull KR weren’t going to go away with Sam Wood hitting a great line on the back of a probing run from Jez Litten.

Talking Points:

Walking wounded
As both these sides battle it out for a spot in the play-offs, the last thing they needed was another war but that’s exactly what they got as they served up one of the fastest paced games of the season with Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Greg Richards, Bodene Thompson, Harry Newman and Cameron Smith all copping injuries. A fiery contest, both sides could both receive bans which will put a further strain on both which are already stretched by injuries and suspensions.

Lightning nines
I touched upon it just there, but this game was one of the quickest we’ve seen all season and a huge part of that was the pace brought by both nines. Former teammates, Matt Parcell and Brad Dwyer tuck turns in darting from acting half to devastating effect. Two of the league’s most underrated hookers, they deserve more credit especially Dwyer who should have a queue of potential suitors with the hooker set to leave Headingley.

Should Leeds give Dwyer a new deal
This was Brad Dwyer’s first for some time and only came courtesy of a number of absentees but he reminded everyone what he can do demonstrating a great running ability from dummy half with one of the best tries from a nine you’ll see this season. It begs the question whether or not Leeds should change their stance on the hooker and offer him a new deal. It’s a salary cap sport and Rohan Smith is really trying to develop the look of his squad. We’ve seen Liam Sutcliffe be a casualty of this and Brad Dwyer is another despite the fact he’s a real livewire.

Ryan Hall the wrecking ball
Boy it was good to see Ryan Hall back in action even if he did lose his centre partner Shaun Kenny-Dowall. The former Rhino would certainly have left some of his former side bruised the way he carried the ball. Not just for the rest of this season, but also moving forward, the Robins will want him fit as he seems to be the bedrock they can build on.

Leeds’ unusual approach
Most teams have the same general approach. Have quick line speed, try and restrict opposition metres. In doing so they hope to win the arm wrestle create territory and wait for the weight of that to equate to points. Leeds don’t seem to follow this general rule of thumb. They’re happy to sit back, let the opposition make metres and back themselves to cover. Then when they get the ball their expression, their eyes up rugby will get them up the field and over the tryline. It’s a strange one and makes them look like they’re barely holding on, but it makes for a real spectacle.

Character from both teams
Hull KR may have ended up losing, but they showed terrific character to try and battle back despite losing two players to injury early. But Leeds topped that, they had one substitute at the end of the game and were even a man down on the field in the second half but hung in there to claim a vital win.

Player Ratings:

Hull KR
23 Ethan Ryan – 7
2 Ben Crooks – 7
24 Sam Wood – 7
4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall – N/A
5 Ryan Hall – 9
14 Jez Litten – 9
17 Elliot Minchella – 7
13 Matty Storton – 7
9 Matt Parcell – 9
10 George King – 8
27 Frankie Halton – 7
12 Kane Linnett – 8
18 Jimmy Keinhorst – 7
Substitutes
22 Will Maher – 7
25 Greg Richards – N/A
28 Will Tate – 6
29 Phoenix Laula-Togaga’e – 6

Leeds Rhinos
33 Zak Hardaker – 8
29 Liam Tindall – 7
3 Harry Newman – 8
4 Liam Sutcliffe – 7
5 Ash Handley – 7
16 Richie Myler – 9
17 Cameron Smith – N/A
8 Mikolaj Oledzki – 8
14 Brad Dwyer – 9
13 Zane Tetevano – 7
19 Bodene Thompson – N/A
21 Morgan Gannon – 8
24 Jarrod O’Connor – 7
Substitutes
6 Blake Austin – 8
22 Sam Walters – 7
26 Corey Johnson – 7
27 Muizz Mustapha – 8

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