Leeds Rhinos demonstrated that they will be title contenders this season with a comprehensive 24-52 defeat of Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium in front of 15,487 spectators.
The Rhinos imposed themselves early in the game, with skipper Danny McGuire scoring after six minutes and Liam Sutcliffe adding the goal.
Steve Michaels then touched down Albert Kelly’s kick to the corner, with Marc Sneyd’s conversion equalising the scores.
But three converted tries in eight minutes from Ryan Hall, Matt Parcell and Joel Moon gave the Rhinos an 18-points margin, and Hull could never get back on terms. Despite responding with a try by Scott Taylor, again converted by Sneyd, Moon then got over for his second and Sutcliffe, although failing to convert, added a penaty on the hooter for a 12-30 interval lead.
Hull fought back in the second half with a brilliant individual try from Jamie Shaul, his 58th for Hull, which means he has scored more tries than any other fullback in the history of the club.
After Sutcliffe kicked a penalty, Leeds captain McGuire was sinbinned after a team warning and Mark Minichiello forced his way over, with Sneyd’s conversion reducing the margin to eight points.
But that was as good as it got for Hull, and Leeds added another 20 points with a penalty from Sutcliffe and tries from Kallum Watkins, Mitch Garbutt and Anthony Mullally, wth Sutcliffe converting the first two and Rob Burrow converting the final try.
The Rhinos will host Widnes Vikings on Easter Monday, while Hull FC face a tricky trip to Leigh Centurions.
Hull: 1 Jamie Shaul, 19 Steve Michaels, 2 Mahe Fonua, 4 Josh Griffin, 5 Fetuli Talanoa, 6 Albert Kelly, 7 Marc Sneyd, 22 Josh Bowden, 17 Danny Washbrook, 8 Scott Taylor, 12 Mark Minichiello, 21 Sika Manu, 10 Liam Watts; Subs: 14 Jake Connor, 16 Jordan Thompson, 28 Brad Fash, 13 Gareth Ellis (C)
Leeds: 1 Ashton Golding, 2 Tom Briscoe, 3 Kallum Watkins, 14 Liam Sutcliffe, 5 Ryan Hall, 6 Danny McGuire (C), 4 Joel Moon, 17 Mitch Garbutt, 9 Matt Parcell, 10 Adam Cuthbertson, 11 Jamie Jones-Buchanan, 15 Brett Delaney, 20 Anthony Mullally; Subs: 7 Rob Burrow, 13 Stevie Ward, 8 Keith Galloway, 24 Jordan Baldwinson
A full report, photos and analysis from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.