Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC: Five talking points ahead of tonight’s match

Ashton Golding.
Ashton Golding.
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Leeds Rhinos face a must-win game at home to Hull tonight.

The struggling champions are desperate for maximum points to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the Super-8s.

Hull start as favourites as they bid to strengthen their push for a top-two place.

Here’s five talking points ahead of the match.

1: If Leeds lose it will be their worst-ever start to a Super League season, surpassing the disastrous 1996 campaign when they won three of their first 11 matches.

2: Hull are on a five-game winning run, but haven’t beaten Leeds at Headingley since 2007 - a run of nine straight defeats.

3: Seventeen-year-old Cameron Smith is included in Rhinos’ initial 19 for the first time. It is very early, but he is rated as highly as Kevin Sinfield was two decades ago.

4: If he features Smith will be the first player from outside Rhinos’ senior squad to take the field this year. The teams they have been putting out are good enough to win games.

5: Rhinos’ defence took a step forward last week, but they were vulnerable near their own line. That is something Hull will look to exploit.

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