Leeds 10-7 Hull FC: Gritty Rhinos strengthen top-two position
Last Updated: 15/07/17 10:44am
Leeds showed their grit and determination to claim a precious 10-7 win over Hull that strengthens their position in the top two of Betfred Super League.
The Rhinos overcame a string of crushing injury blows to overturn a 7-0 half-time deficit and strike a psychological blow ahead of their Challenge Cup semi-final meeting with the Black and Whites in a fortnight's time.
Hull's misery was compounded by Wakefield's win at Widnes which saw them drop out of the top four after a third successive defeat.
Leeds' eighth successive win over Hull was all the more remarkable after losing prop Keith Galloway and makeshift centre Stevie Ward to injury inside 12 minutes, while England winger Ryan Hall also went off before the end, although not before notching the 250th try of his career.
Yet Hull were on course for their first win at Headingley for almost 10 years after making a fine start.
Loose forward Sika Manu was held up over the line on five minutes but there was no stopping prop Scott Taylor a minute later as he found himself at dummy-half and forced his way over from close range.
Marc Sneyd added the conversion to make it 6-0 and Leeds' prospects looked bleak when Galloway limped off after pulling up in possession without a defender near him and Ward went off with concussion.
Full-back Ashton Golding went to centre in the resulting re-shuffle but it meant a long shift for the Leeds pack with only two forwards on the bench.
The Rhinos strove manfully to level the game, with hooker Matt Parcell twice losing the ball in darts for the line while Adam Cuthbertson and Golding were both held inches short and returning centre Jimmy Keinhorst was bundled into touch near the corner flag by Mahe Fonua.
The Hull defence was forced into overtime through a host of handling errors but it held firm up to the break and Sneyd took the opportunity in first-half stoppage time to coolly slot over a drop goal from 40 metres to make it 7-0.
They went close to extending the lead further when winger Fetuli Talanoa caught Sneyd's high kick just short of the line but he was held up on his back and Leeds immediately went up-field and scored their first try.
Neat passing from Joel Moon and Carl Ablett gave Hall an opportunity at the corner and he produced an acrobatic dive and one-handed put-down to mark his landmark try with some style.
Golding was wide with the conversion attempt but Leeds went in front for the first time in the 57th minute when the industrious Moon kicked off the side of his foot and teenager Jack Walker read it perfectly to score his second Super League try.
Replacement Jordan Lilley added the goal to put his side 10-7 ahead and it took a tremendous gang-tackle from the visitors to keep prop Brad Singleton out when he looked certain to score.
In a dramatic final quarter, Hull had two tries disallowed as they made one last effort to grab the win.
Josh Griffin dived over at the corner only for referee Robert Hicks to rule a forward pass from Fonua, who also had a score ruled out for a knock-on.