Leeds Rhinos 18-22 Hull FC: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

Leeds were much better tonight and perhaps should have won against Hull FC but let themselves down allowing an exciting and resurgent Hull FC team to snatch the win and make it two wins from two.


Leeds with an early chance
After last week’s performance, it was vital that Leeds started well and that they did. They rolled Hull FC down field brilliantly in the first five minutes and very nearly punctuated their dominance with a try as Richie Myler grubbered through and Nene MacDonald was a bounce of the ball away from a debut try.

Hull strike first
Concerningly for the Rhinos the good start petered out with errors and penalties opening the door for Hull FC to have the first meaningful attack and they exploited Ash Handley’s lack of experience at centre to create space for Cam Scott to squeeze through a gap. It has unfortunately been a hallmark of Leeds for many years since the end of the Golden Generation that they often start games well and concede first. Credit Hull’s key players for engineering such a good chance with their first attack.

Leeds squander next chance
Leeds got back on top especially after a brilliant Kruise Leeming break and on the back of a good Blake Austin kick had their first real attacking set but played it almost too direct up the middle and were stopped by a defiant defence.

Smith gets deserved try
Cameron Smith was having an excellent game and eventually it was him who got Leeds level. He was given space by a Leeming ball, Smith dummied and out muscled opposite number Joe Lovodua to stretch out and score.

You score we score
A brilliant run and offload by substitute Chris Satae saw Hull FC take the lead again after dealing with more Leeds pressure. Satae exposed a gap created as Aidan Sezer rushed out and his offload found space and a former Rhino was on hand to score in the shape of Liam Sutcliffe.

Hull FC nearly extend their lead
The Hull FC subs were making a real impact. After another brilliant Satae drive, Kane Evans looked to have crashed over. Jack Smith looked set to award the try but a call from the touch judge prompted Smith to call on the video ref who spotted a knock on. Credit to the officials, a worry for Leeds.

Mesmeric MacDonald
Leeds’ new signing made his debut tonight and up against the man he replaced Liam Sutcliffe. In fact both were playing on the same edge. Nene MacDonald though showed his class when he weaved his way through the Hull FC defence and even got on the outside of Tex Hoy. Unfortunately as more cover came he lost the ball. There were a number of errors at the start of the second half.

Hull FC score sensational try
After that missed chance Hull FC scored a typical Tony Smith try. Kane Evans probed down the right, he offloaded and Hull came back left. A short ball and a good line saw Josh Griffin carve through and he found Adam Swift in support to score a superb try.

Sangare shining
Sangare was the real bright spark last week for Leeds and he came on and made a big impact today bursting through and finding Kruise Leeming in support to get them back into the game.

Try saving play by Scott
A lovely move by Leeds saw Austin feed Cameron Smith through a gap. He stormed through and had support as he looked to find it, Cam Scott was able to intercept the pass.

Another sensational missed opportunity
There was another fantastic piece of play from Leeds that should have yielded four points but didn’t. This time Leeds broke from inside their own 10 with Austin releasing Ash Handley, Handly looked to find Austin back in support but the stand-off fumbled the ball.

Leeds finally get over
After missing a number of opportunities, Leeds struck. Playing the game too quick for Hull FC at this stage. A looping ball over the top from Aidan Sezer and good footwork from David Fusitu’a saw the big winger cross. Crucially Rhyse Martin’s conversion put Leeds ahead.

Hull snatch the lead back almost instantly
Leeds’ joy was short lived as an error from the Rhinos from debutant MacDonald gave Hull FC a chance and a quick ruck, a simple pass from Brad Dwyer and Scott Taylor twisted his way over.

Wild end as Hull hold on
It was a strange end to the game as Danny Houghton was penalised for what seemed to be a voluntary tackle. Leeds squandered the chance but then an injury occured and Leeds fans were up in arms about how long it took to stop the clock. Then an error gave Leeds one last chance but Hull FC defended well and a poor Sezer kick ended Leeds’ hopes.

Talking Points:

Hull FC defence impresses
Hull FC’s goal line defence was brilliant in the first half. It meant that despite the fact the weight of possession was in favour of Leeds that Hull FC led at the break as the Rhinos were routinely frustrated. It stood up in the second half as well as the black and whites held on for a brilliant win.

The Tony Smith style
We saw the typical Tony Smith style make things difficult for Leeds tonight as offloads and second phase rugby routinely opened up Leeds. Hull also have the players capable of exploiting this kind of space especially Tex Hoy who, despite one error from a high kick, looked great tonight and a constant threat.

Antithesis of last week
Last week Hull FC started sensationally but fell away. Tonight, they were up against it as the Rhinos put real pressure on them. However, the balance of Tony Smith’s bench allowed Chris Satae and Kane Evans to come on and cause real problems. A smart call from the veteran Smith. They went on to finish stronger with a late try and great defence in an improvement from last week.

Cam Smith outstanding
Speaking of Smiths, Cameron Smith was outstanding blending his size with his ball playing ability in a perfect example of how he embodies the new era of the ball playing 13. Tom Holroyd also underlined his potential.

Leeds backline shine
Leeds’ backline stood out tonight but not for try scoring. David Fusitu’a, Nene MacDonald, Ash Handley and Derrell Olpherts were all metre making machines tonight and were the reason for Leeds’ quick ruck and strength in yardage making something they lacked last week. Unfortunately, they were also unable to take their chances.

Leeming vs Dwyer
Thus was a fascinating match up given Brad Dwyer was let go by the Rhinos at the end of last season. He showed some glimpses of why this was a controversial decision but on the whole Leeming was the bigger threat out of nine perhaps because Leeds clearly targeted Dwyer when they had the ball. Dwyer was much better in his second stint providing the match winning assist. He has often played his best rugby against tired defences. Food for thought for Tony Smith.

Leeds beaten by themselves
Leeds perhaps wouldn’t have needed a late try to win the game had they taken their chances. They had two huge chances in the second half that they squandered. Leeds had more territory in the first half too that they failed to use. Leeds were brilliant in the middle of the field but they let themselves down in the 20 metre zones at either end of the pitch. They didn’t score enough and didn’t defend well enough. Rohan Smith’s approach invites pressure and creates it but Leeds didn’t use their pressure and succumbed to Hull’s.

Player Ratings:

1 Richie Myler – 6
2 David Fusitu’a – 7
4 Nene MacDonald – 7
5 Ash Handley – 6
16 Derrell Olpherts – 7
6 Blake Austin – 7
7 Aidan Sezer – 6
10 Zane Tetevano – 7
9 Kruise Leeming – 7
18 Tom Holroyd – 8
12 Rhyse Martin – 7
20 Morgan Gannon – 6
13 Cameron Smith – 8
14 Jarrod O’Connor – 7
15 Sam Lisone – 6
17 Justin Sangare – 7
25 James Donaldson – 6

Hull FC
1 Tex Hoy – 8
5 Darnell McIntosh – 7
17 Cam Scott – 7
4 Liam Sutcliffe – 7
2 Adam Swift – 8
19 Ben McNamara – 7
7 Jake Clifford – 7
13 Brad Fash – 8
33 Brad Dwyer – 7
30 Scott Taylor – 8
12 Jordan Lane – 7
23 Josh Griffin – 8
14 Joe Lovodua – 7
9 Danny Houghton – 6
10 Chris Satae – 8
15 Joe Cator – 6
16 Kane Evans – 8

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