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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 38 Hull FC 16

31st May 2002

By Leeds Rhinos

In-form Leeds overcame a dreadful start to avenge their heaviest defeat of the season and draw level with Super League leaders Bradford Bulls.

The confident Rhinos ran in seven sparkling tries to claim a fifth successive win and condemn Hull to only their second defeat in nine games.

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Yet the visitors made the best possible start when Leeds skipper Francis Cummins failed to take Jason Smith's high kick to the corner and second rower Sean Ryan came up with a soft touchdown after only two minutes.

The score was uncannily reminiscent of the two tries Ryan scored in Hull's emphatic 38-6 rout of the Rhinos at the Boulevard in March, when Smith tormented the visitors with his precision kicking.

Leeds winger Mark Calderwood had a nightmare that night but he was among a number of outstanding performers as Daryl Powell's men maintained their impressive run.

Former Leeds centre Graham Mackay, a third-choice goalkicker in the absence of injured marksmen Steve Prescott and Matt Crowther, landed the difficult conversion to Ryan's try and also put over two well-struck penalties as Hull remained in contention for much of the game.

But once the Rhinos overcame their early jitters, they produced some superb football, with stand-off Kevin Sinfield pulling the strings behind a dominant pack led by Barrie McDermott and Matt Adamson.

It was Sinfield who got second rower Adamson into his considerable stride on nine minutes to claim a try on his comeback from injury and Leeds went in front four minutes later when full-back Ben Walker took a return pass from the lively Calderwood to cross the line.

Strong-running centre Tonie Carroll was denied a try when video referee John Holdsworth decided he had failed to ground the ball over the line but the Rhinos kept their momentum going with two other well-taken tries before half-time.

The barnstorming Keith Senior took Ryan Sheridan's pass to go over straight from a scrum and Carroll was on the end of another flowing move to score the fourth try as Leeds led 20-10 at the break.

Hull cut the deficit to just four points within five minutes of the re-start and the unfortunate Cummins was once more partly to blame.

The winger got a hand to a long, floated pass from Jason Smith only to watch the ball drop kindly into the grateful arms of winger Craig Poucher, who crossed for a try on his first appearance of the season.

It was no way for the skipper to mark a Super League record 100th consecutive appearance.

Mackay maintained his 100record with the conversion and Leeds suffered another blow when the dangerous Carroll limped off.

But the home side got back in the driving seat on 54 minutes when Sheridan, architect of their fightback against London last weekend, jinked his way over for a solo try.

Leeds then made sure with two further tries in the last quarter, with Calderwood taking substitute Jamie Jones-Buchanan's pass to finish strongly at the corner and second rower Andy Hay storming over two minutes from the end.

Walker, who had failed with his first two attempts at goal, kicked his fifth goal to round off an impressive evening for the home side.

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