After getting off the mark last weekend with a win over Wakefield, the Rhinos were looking to back it up with a victory over a Hull FC side who lost to the Castleford Tigers, allowing them to register their first points of the season. A win for Brett Hodgson´s side could see them as high as third, while a win for Richard Agar´s side by six or more would see them go above FC and into sixth.
Leeds were without the services of Harry Newman (injured) and skipper Kruise Leeming (suspended), while FC welcomed back Joe Cator and Mitieli Vulikijapani to their ranks.
Our pre-match Twitter Poll went 60% in favour of a Rhinos win and the bookies agreed as they gave FC a twelve-point start on the coupon.
Leeds had the first real scoring chance of the game but Fusitu´a was ruled to have put his foot in touch but on six minutes Kane Evans was sin-binned for a head high tackle. On the next set Ash Handley had a try scrubbed after a forward pass, FC struggling to re-organise with twelve men.
On nine, Matt Prior joined Evans in the sin-bin after also being pulled up for a high tackle on Adam Swift but it was all a bit scrappy, both sides making errors with the ball.
Hull were back up to full complement on eighteen when Jake Conner feigned to kick, then dummied the pass, before going through the gap he´d created for the opening score of the game. Ben McNamara added the conversion, and the visitors were 6-0 ahead.
On twenty-nine another moment of Connor magic, this time a miss out long pass, found Swift with space to go fifteen down the wing to dot down in the right corner. McNamara added the touchline conversion for a 12-0 lead.
It was quickly turning into the Connor show on thirty-five when FC went in for their third, taking the pass and throwing the dummy to dip the shoulder and go in from five metres out. McNamara added the conversion for an 18-0 half time lead, FC totally in charge and the Rhinos looking down and out.
On forty-two the Rhinos looked to have got on the score board but Fusitu´a was determined to have grounded on the line as he dived for the corner.
Hull FC took full advantage as they went down the other end of the pitch with Andre Savelio shrugging off a couple of tackles to dive for the line. McNamara missed his conversion attempt but the Black and Whites were moving out of sight.
A McNamara penalty on fifty-five extended the lead to four converted tries, but the Rhinos didn´t look like getting one. McNamara added a fifth goal for 30-0, FC good value for the lead, the Rhinos having a nightmare evening.
On sixty-four Joe Lovodua won the race to ground a Jordan Johnstone grubber kick under the sticks and after the video referee checked the validity of the try, McNamara added the extras to bring up thirty.
A Jake Connor one-pointer went over off the left upright on seventy-two to add insult to the injury that Leeds were already feeling.
Leeds avoided the nilling on seventy-four when Tom Briscoe took the pass wide to go over by the corner flag and come inside to improve the angle. The improvement was to no avail when Rhyse Martin failed to add the extras.
As the Airlie Birds tired, Liam Sutcliffe added a second Leeds try on seventy-eight as he dived in by the left corner flag, Martin was again unable to add the conversion, the Rhinos going down by 8-31.
Even the most fervent Black & White wouldn´t have predicted their side would win by such a big margin at Headingley, when carrying so many injuries and absences. Most would have sided with the bookies and predicted a Leeds win, probably by some margin, but Hull FC had an almost perfect day at the office and with Jake Connor as office manager they took the Rhinos apart for a tremendous win. Leeds had an awful evening, with droves of supporters heading for the exits early on, and the calls for the sacking of Richard Agar will be gaining momentum.
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Handley, Briscoe (T), Sutcliffe (T), Fusitu´a, Austin, Sezer, Oledzki, Johnson, Prior (SB on 9), Martin, Gannon, Tetevano. Subs: Donaldson, Dwyer, Thompson, Mellor.
Hull FC: Connor (2T, DG), Shaul, Vulikijapani, Griffin, Swift (T), McNamara (5G), Lovodua (T), Evans (SB on 6), Houghton, Satae, Sao, Savelio (T), Brown. Subs: Bowden, Cator, Fash, Johnstone.
Score Progression: (SB), (SB), 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-18 : HT : 0-22, 0-24, 0-28, 0-30, 0-31, 4-31, 8-31: FT .
Referee: Liam Moore.