Hull FC 12 Leeds Rhinos 22: Super-sub Brad Dwyer inspires Rhinos to victory
SUPER-SUB Brad Dwyer inspired Leeds Rhinos to a fantastic 22-12 win at Hull which scarcely seemed possible for the opening 40 minutes.
SUPER-SUB Brad Dwyer inspired Leeds Rhinos to a fantastic 22-12 win at Hull last night which scarcely seemed possible for the opening 40 minutes.
Hull were utterly dominant in the first half, but a brilliant Leeds defensive effort on their own line kept them in the game, the home side having to settle for a 6-4 lead.
Leeds made a change early in the second period when Dwyer replaced Callum McLelland and went into dummy-half with Kruise Leeming switching to the halves.
That proved a masterstroke by Rhinos coach Richard Agar as his side fed off Dwyer’s pass and enthusiasm and ran away with the game in the final 23 minutes.
It was a remarkable effort by Leeds, who looked out on their feet just before the break, following their huge tackling effort.
Their defence throughout was magnificent and Hull’s second try did not come until the final moments, after a ball steal caught Rhinos on the hop.
Hull were the better team in the first 40, but never managed to get more than two points in front and that proved crucial.
The black and whites, on the back of a shock defeat at Huddersfield Giants a week earlier, made five changes, the most significant of them being the return of stand-off Josh Reynolds.
He was at the heart of their attack in the opening period, working off the space created by some strong running from the pack.
The Aussie came up with an outstanding pass to create the hosts’ opening try and won the penalty which edged Hull into their narrow interval lead, but lost his way in the second period.
With Leeds looking fatigued, Hull seemed capable of running away with the game, but after failing to profit from some early pressure, they collapsed.
Leeds’ forwards got on top and halves Marc Sneyd and Reynolds were unable to get any grip on the game, the latter blotting his copybook when he was sin-binned, along with Rhinos’ Richie Myler.
Leeds’ defence was on point from the start, as was illustrated when Konrad Hurrell spilled Callum McLelland’s pass in a penalty set, Rhinos were immediately caught offside and then conceded three consecutive drop outs.
Rhinos held out in impressive fashion and defence on their own line was outstanding and when Hull went for the powerplay, Carlos Tuimavave was shoved into touch just short of the line by Ash Handley and Harry Newman.
Rhinos didn’t get a look at Hull’s line until the 16th minute and they came away with two points, through a Rhyse Martin penalty goal following a high tackle on James Donaldson, who had replaced Mellor.
On 25 minutes Leeds managed only their second attack of the game and it should have produced a try, but within moments Hull had countered to go in front.
Gale broke into space and dabbed a precise kick over the line to Leeds’ left and Newman would have scored if he’d been able to take the ball in, but it came free.
Rhinos were caught offside in the next set and following the penalty, Reynolds flicked a pass to an unmarked Adam Swift who had a walk-in for his 10th try of the Super League season.
Leeds levelled through a second Martin penalty after Hull were caught offside in front of their posts on the half hour, but the home team went in front for the second time in similar fashion. Rhinos conceded successive six-agains – the second of them on the final tackle – and then Matt Prior obstructed Reynolds as the stand-off chased his own kick and Sneyd took the two.
Rhinos missed their second gilt-edged opportunity at the start of the second half when Handley broke along the left flank from Newman’s pass and turned the ball inside to Leeming, who knocked on.
Hull applied fierce pressure for a spell after that, but their inability to turn that into points proved fatal.
Leeds finally managed to establish a foothold in opposition territory and, with 22 minutes left, then went ahead for the second time.
Video referee Tom Grant backed up Liam Moore’s no-try call when Mikolaj Oledzki went close, but – soon afterwards – Dwyer put on some footwork near the line and accelerated through a gap and Martin booted the angled conversion.
With 15 minutes left, Rhinos opened a two-score gap for the first time in the game with a well-crafted six-pointer, Myler running on to some excellent work by Leeming.
Rhinos were now playing with confidence and Hull looked a beaten side. That was confirmed with 11 minutes left when Cameron Smith capped a good game off the bench by going between the posts from Dwyer’s quick pass.
Before Martin added the goal, there was a flare-up which ended with Reynolds and, for the second successive game, Myler being sin-binned.
Rhinos missed another chance six minutes from time when Newman dropped Gale’s kick behind Hull’s line.
Then hosts pulled six points back in the 78th minute when Tuimavave slid over after stealing the ball from Newman and Sneyd added the extras.
With three players back in the starting line-up, Rhinos’ 17 was by far their strongest of the season and – in squad number order – included their first-choice pack.
But –almost inevitably given the way things have gone for them this year – they suffered an early injury and were a man down for most of the game, Alex Mellor lasting only five minutes before suffering a knee injury trying to tackle Jordan Lane. The penalty count went six-five in Rhinos’ favour (four-three to Hull in the first half.
Hull had five six-agains to Leeds’ three.