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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 34 Hull KR 16

3rd February 2012

By Leeds Rhinos

A hat trick from Kallum Watkins helped the Rhinos to an opening day win over Hull KR at a chilly Headingley Carnegie.

Brian McDermott named Rob Burrow at hooker  in the starting line up with Chris Clarkson and Richard Moore missing out on the final 17 on the night. That meant that Darrell Griffin was set to make his debut off the bench after his close season move from Huddersfield.

WP – Home MPU

The Rhinos made the best possible start as they turned up the heat on Hull KR in the freezing conditions in the opening encounters. Brent Webb got the crowd on their feet early on with a great break in midfield however the visitors managed to regroup to tackle Rob Burrow. However, having secured a couple of penalties near the Rovers line, the pressure had to tell and Delaney took a short pass near the line and there was no stopping him. Kevin Sinfield had an uncharacteristic miss from his conversion attempt but his side led 4-0 after six minutes.

Four minutes later, Rovers hit back with a try down the South Stand side as they exploited an overlap to put Graeme Horne over in the corner. Dobson could not give his side the lead with the touchline conversion attempt but we had a real contest on our hands.

The visitors dominated play after that and it took some brave defence from the Rhinos to keep them out with the home side having to drop out on three occasions but each time they were able to counter what Rovers had to throw at them.

Hull KR were left to rue those missed chances when Leeds retook the lead when Webb read Sinfield’s through kick wonderfully and dived out to touch it down. Sinfield was on target this time to make it 10-4.

Leeds had the best of the latter of the first half but this time it was Hull KR who came up with the answers on defence. The closest the Rhinos came was a well weighted grubber kick from Hardaker from an offload by Hall in the corner but the visitors managed to bat the ball dead just in time.

Rovers finished the half strongly and cut the deficit with a minute to go until the hooter. Horne caught the Rhinos napping down the short side and spotted a gap from dummy half to go over in the corner. Dobson was off target again but it left the half time score evenly poised at 10-8 to Leeds.

The Robins took the lead seven minutes into the second half when they made the most of a spell of pressure for Kris Welham to hold off the cover and touch down. Dobson missed his conversion attempt again to leave his side just two points in front.

Leeds were guilty of making too many errors on attack and allowed Hull KR to come back at them on several occasions. The positive element of those mistakes was that Leeds’ defence was stead fast in repelling anything the Robins could throw at them.

Finally the Rhinos got their chance to get back into the game. Having won a penalty for a high shot by Horne on Ablett, Leeds kept the ball tight before McGuire unleashed a high, looping pass to set Kallum Watkins away to score out wide. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 16-12.

Leeds sensed their chance to put the game to bed and kept their foot on the gas. Dobson could only hack the ball dead after a clever kick by Smith and from the next set Watkins proved too fast and too strong for the Rovers defence as he brushed off two would be tacklers to score. Sinfield was on target again to make it 22-12 to the Champions after 65 minutes.

Hull KR hit back through David Hodgson outwide after they latched onto a loose bouncing ball and fed it wide quickly to the winger, who beat Smith just to touch down in the corner. Dobson was off target again.

Leeds then kicked on a gear to seal the win. Watkins completed his hat trick with a great show of strength to hold off three tacklers and touch down. Then with two minutes remaining, McGuire took a high pass and ducked under two high tackles before diving over the line to score. Sinfield converted both to make the final score 34-16.

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