Leeds 20-16 Hull FC: Rhinos early charge sets up victory
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 09/03/18 6:21am
Kallum Watkins and Tom Briscoe scored their first tries of the season to ensure a happy homecoming for Super League champions Leeds as they beat Hull FC 20-16 in a thrilling encounter.
Both sides had two tries disallowed as the Rhinos edged to victory on their first appearance at a partially-reconstructed Headingley.
Leeds led 20-6 after an hour but were forced to withstand a tremendous fightback before securing a 14th successive home win over Hull, stretching back to September 2007.
Short five first-choice players through injury or suspension, Hull's Jack Logan made his first appearance for almost two years, while 20-year-old back rower Jordan Lane and Zimbabwe-born prop Masi Matongo both made their debuts.
They all showed up, even if the visitors were all at sea in the first quarter and were fortunate to be only 10-0 behind.
Rhinos' captain Watkins gave his side a fifth-minute lead when he leapt into the night sky to retrieve the ball from Richie Myler's high kick and force his way over for his first try of the campaign.
The England centre added the conversion and Leeds extended their lead 10 minutes later when Myler's long, looping pass gave winger Briscoe an unopposed run to the corner for his first try of the season.
Briscoe had another try disallowed as the home side put the Hull defence under enormous pressure but Lee Radford's men gradually worked their way into the contest and might have been in front at half-time after dominating the second
Loose forward Dean Hadley won the race to Marc Sneyd's grubber kick to touch down on 28 minutes and Logan and centre Josh Griffin both had tries contentiously disallowed by video referee Phil Bentham.
The busy Bentham, still unfit to officiate in the middle as a result of his collision with Widnes forward Chris Houston, disallowed a fourth try early in the second-half, ruling Myler offside before Jamie Jones-Buchanan touched down
But there was no denying Watkins on 54 minutes when he cut a superb line to take Myler's short pass and burst through for his second try.
There appeared to be no way back for Hull when Watkins worked Briscoe over for his second try five minutes later as Leeds opened up a three-score lead.
However, substitute Jordan Abdull forced his way over for a second Hull try on 61 minutes and, after acting captain Scott Taylor had been held up over the line, winger Fetuli Talanoa stormed over at the corner to cut the gap to just
Hull were all over their opponents in the last 10 minutes, with Taylor again held up, but Leeds demonstrated resilience to preserve their lead.