Leeds Rhinos overcame a major scare to maintain their six point lead at the top of the table to beat Hull FC at Headingley Carnegie.
Leeds Rhinos overcame a major scare to maintain their six point lead at the top of the table to beat Hull FC at Headingley Carnegie. The Rhinos trailed 18-0 midway through the first half but fought back with a sensational display of attacking rugby to win 38-22 including a wonderful solo effort by Scott Donald. The Rhinos returned to action in the engage Super League with the visit of the rejuvenated Hull FC at Headingley Carnegie. The home side welcomed back internationals Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Eric Anselme but were without Jamie Peacock who was given time to recover from a deep cut in his elbow that he suffered in the win over Bradford. Hull were without Gareth Raynor, Danny Washbrook, Shaun Berrigan and Tommy Lee from the team who beat the Bulls in the Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter final last week. The two sides battled it out in the opening exchanges with neither able to mount significant pressure in the others half. However, the visitors took advantage of their first real attack when Willie Manu outjumped Ryan Hall to take Adam Dykes crossfield kick to score. Danny Tickle added the conversion to make it 6-0 after 9 minutes. The Rhinos had chances to redress the balance when they forced a repeat set and when Hall failed to gather Danny McGuire's crossfield kick however it was the Airlie Birds who struck next. Keith Senior failed to deal with a loose ball on the ground and Graeme Horne took advantage to burst through a flat footed defence to score. Tickle again converted to make it 12-0 after 18 minutes. It got worse for the Rhinos four minutes later when Tickle became the latest player to take advantage of a crossfield kick as he collected the ball outwide and dived over for his side's third try. He added the conversion to make it 18-0. The Rhinos were enduring a nightmare first half on defence and attack as it appeared nothing was going right. They managed to get a prolonged period of pressure on the Hull line but time and time again the final ball was knocked on allowing the visitors off the hook. However, with five minutes remaining in the half they finally got their break through. Having been awarded a penalty under the Hull posts, Sinfield elected to go for a scrum to tie in as many defenders as possible. The ball was moved to the left and Senior powered his way over in the corner. Sinfield's conversion was off target but the home side had finally got off the mark. The Rhinos continued to press the Hull line in the remainder of the half but could not find a way through. The visitors for their part appeared to be happy with their lead and were looking to run down the clock at every opportunity despite their being over half the game left to play. The Rhinos came out determined after the break but they were hit with another set back after referee Ben Thaler gave a bizarre decision against Brent Webb. As the Leeds full back attempted to the third time to get to his feet under mounting pressure and delaying tactics from the visitors, he was penalised for not doing exactly what he was trying to do. Tickle had little hesitation in going for goal to make it 20-4 after 46 minutes. However, that only seemed to spur the Rhinos on and they hit back with two breathtaking individual tries in the space of two minutes. Firstly, Rob Burrow ducked under the defence and raced through from 20 metres out to score. Then Scott Donald burst down field from the kick off before cutting back inside to wrong foot the on rushing defence. He then came straight back the way he had come to leave the Hull defenders dizzy before sprinting through to score one of the tries of the season. Sinfield converted that try to make it 20-14 and turn the game on its head after 49 minutes. The Airlie Birds sensed they were on the rack and all their delaying tactics could not hold back the Rhinos tidal wave. Adam Dykes found himself in the sin bin after cynically tap tackling Matt Diskin as he went from dummy half, with Dykes lying on the floor from the previous tackle. But Leeds just kept up the momentum and fed the ball wide for Ellis to crash over. Sinfield added the touchline conversion to level the score at 20-20 after 56 minutes. Hull did manage to get a brief rest bit when Tickle kicked a penalty after 59 minutes but it was not long before the Rhinos had finally taken the lead. As the heavens opened, Leeds moved up a gear and a long pass by Burrow released Donald down the touchline and he dived along the wet turf to score in the corner. Sinfield added another great conversion to make it 26-22 to the home side. That lead was extended after 68 minutes when Sinfield burst through the Hull defence before offloading to the perfectly timed run by Ellis, who went flying over for his second try of the game. Sinfield then adding the conversion. Hull were desperate to get back in the game so attempted a short kick off. Sing did rise above the Leeds defenders to knock the ball back unfortunately for the Australian the man waiting for the ball was Rob Burrow who raced 55 metres untouched to score between the posts. Sinfield's conversion make the score 38-22 to the Champions after 71 minutes. With the game won the Rhinos looked to try one or two things out on attack in the closing stages but in the end the 16 point winning margin was enough to seal a fantastic fight back from the champions and keep them clear of St Helens at the summit of the engage Super League. Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Hall, Ablett, Senior, Donald, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Bailey, Ellis, Anselme, Sinfield Subs: Tansey, Burgess, Jones-Buchanan, Scruton Hull FC: Byrne, Sing, G Horne, Yeaman, Briscoe, Hall, Dykes, Dowes, Houghton, Carvell, Manu, Radford, Tickle Subs: Wheeldon, Burnett, Dale, J Thackray Referee: Ben Thaler Attendance: 16,886 Flying Pizza Man of the Match: Luke Burgess