Stats Pack: Magic Weekend
The Dacia Magic Weekend returns tomorrow at Newcastle’s St James’ Park and the Rhinos will close out Saturday’s fixtures against play off rivals Hull FC, kick off 7:30pm.
Before the teams run out, here are some of the key stats, figures and facts about both Richard Agar and Brett Hodgson’s sides.
Team Head to Head
Leeds and Hull FC meet for the third time in 2021 at the Dacia Magic Weekend this Saturday and the win on offer is crucial as the club’s approach the end of the regular season.
In the league, Hull and the Rhinos have one win each in the two fixtures they have played against each other. The black and whites claimed an 18-12 win at Emerald Headingley in May but in the return fixture at the MKM Stadium, an entertaining second half saw Leeds run 18 points passed the home side to seal a 22-12 result. It will be the first time the two sides have met at the Magic Weekend though, after last year’s event was cancelled.
At previous Magic Weekends, Leeds have won seven games and lost six, compared to Hull’s five wins and eight defeats. The Rhinos’ winning streak between 2007 and 2012 was broken by Wigan in 2013 and the Rhinos didn’t win another match at the annual rugby festival until 2019, when they edged London Broncos 24-22.
Hull suffered a humiliating 55-2 loss to Huddersfield in their last Magic appearance but have previously played some memorable Hull derbies at the event, none more than 2012’s thriller that was decided by two points.
Statistically this season, Leeds’ command of the ball and territory has allowed Richard Agar’s side to benefit on the scoreboard. The Rhinos (fifth in SL) score more points per game than Hull FC (6th in SL) and are one of only five sides to have a positive points difference this season, the other four teams being St Helens, Catalans, Warrington and Hull KR. Leeds also edge Hull in average tries scored per game too (3.9 compared to 3.4) and have scored the third most tries in the league too.
Defensively, Hull continue to dominate in tackles made compared to Leeds. Due to the work of Danny Houghton, Joe Cator and more, the black and whites average 343 tackles per game and sit behind Wigan and Huddersfield this season. They are also very efficient, completing 88.6%, compared to Leeds’ 87.6%.
Hull FC Top Performers
13 Tries (6th in SL)
54 Goals (6th in SL)
729 Tackles (3rd in SL)
20 Assists (3rd in SL)
23 Tackle Busts (12th in SL)
Key Head to Head
Saturday’s result between Leeds and Hull is likely to be highly dependant on which forward pack dominates the early ball and two forwards that will be at the centre of it are Rhyse Martin and Ligi Sao. Having faced each other in the NRL and Super League before and after two meetings between the two clubs already this season, both players know each other well.
Leeds’ Rhyse Martin is one of the league’s highest points scorers, mainly due to his goal kicking. The second rower has 72 conversions so far this season and is closing in on James Maloney’s tally of 93, as the Catalans half back still leads the league. He has only missed two games this season for the club and he has put in some good performances, recently assisting Richie Myler’s try against Wigan with a nice line break from a Rob Lui pass.
Martin sits tenth in the league in this total offloads, equal to team mate Konrad Hurrell with 25, and has a combined 20 offloads in his last 11 games. Sao is just behind with 23 offloads; the forward making the most in a single game against Leeds in the 22-12 defeat for the black and whites.
Sao, a Samoan international, is continuing to enjoy his second season in Super League as part of a ruthless forward pack that Hodgson has assembled. Behind Adam Swift, he has made more runs and run metres than any Hull player this season, not just among the forwards, and he leads the team in post contact metres; the forward averaging nearly 48 per game.
Stats Standout from Round 22: Hull FC
As ever, half back Marc Sneyd continues to be one of Hull’s most important players, especially when they are competing for a play off spot this season.
Monday’s display against Salford Red Devils was under par for Hodgson’s side in 2021 but alongside youngster Ben McNamara, Sneyd was forced to take on the line more than he has done since the clash with Castleford in June. The Ireland international ran for 68 total metres, 46 of which were beyond the gainline. That total of 46 is Sneyd’s highest since the 34-16 defeat to St Helens in May, plus he had to make 15 tackles which is his most after making a combined 18 in Hull’s previous two matches against Hull KR and the Tigers.
Where he really comes into his own is kicking in play and off the kicking tee. Against the Red Devils, he made over 28 metres per kick (10 kicks for 282 metres) and he still leads Super League in both kicks made and metres made from kicks. In attack, only Catalans’ Josh Drinkwater has created more tries from kicks than Sneyd, plus he also has made the most 40/20s this season.
Sneyd has scored points in his sides’ last sixteen meetings with the Rhinos. His scoring streak began with three goals in a 36-22 Super 8s home defeat in 2015 and he will be out for points again at St James’ Park
Stats Standout from Round 22: Leeds Rhinos
In a disappointing afternoon for the Rhinos on Monday, one of Leeds’ top performers was hooker Kruise Leeming.
In only his second season at the club, the hooker (and now half back) has been one of the top performing players under Richard Agar this season and is joint top try scorer along with Brad Dwyer, with nine tries each. He is also just behind Richie Myler for try assists and overall, has the most try involvements in the team.
Against Wakefield, both Leeming and Dwyer extended their try scoring streaks with both of Leeds’ tries. Leeming, who has had some of his best games at half back this season, was a leader in both attack and defence as he was one of five players to make over 100 metres during the 80 minutes and was also high with the number of tackles he made.
Where he has really shone is his linebreaks and engagements at the oppositions defensive line. Wigan’s Jackson Hastings and St Helens’ Jonny Lomax are the only players in the league who have made more line engagements than Leeming, plus Leeds’ number nine has made 11 tackle busts in his last three games – three of which came in the game against Trinity.
Hull stalwart Danny Houghton will make his 350th Super League appearance at Magic Weekend against the Rhinos. The hooker has played for the black and whites since his debut in 2007 and was crucial in their Challenge Cup victories in 2016 and 2017.
The Dacia Magic Weekend returns at Newcastle’s St James’s Park for 2021, with six matches across Saturday 4th September and Sunday 5th September in an action packed two-days. With the Dacia Magic Weekend coming at the crucial run in to the season this year for the first time, results could play a massive part in the outcome on each team’s season.
The Rhinos close out Saturday’s fixtures against Hull FC, kick off 7.30pm, following Castleford Tigers against Salford Red Devils and St Helens versus Catalans Dragons.
The next day will see Huddersfield Giants take on Wakefield Trinity, Wigan Warriors face Warrington Wolves and Leigh Centurions round off the weekend against Hull KR.
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