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Super League: Leeds Rhinos charge past Hull FC with second-half masterclass
Champions Leeds got the defence of their Super League title off to an impressive start with a 36-6 demolition of Hull FC.
The big-spending Black and Whites are expected to be Grand Final contenders this season, but they were simply blown away as Leeds scored 30 unanswered second-half points.
The evening started in the worst possible fashion for Hull as their marquee signing Gareth Ellis was injured in the warm-up and failed to take his place in the side. He faces an X-ray on a foot injury next week.
But Hull started well and for 50 minutes they matched the Rhinos, although it was Leeds who had most of the forward momentum.
After a string of early handling errors from both sides, Kevin Sinfield made the breakthrough on 15 minutes, touching down under the posts after Danny McGuire's grubber kick was fumbled by Ben Galea. Sinfield converted, as he was to go on to do for all six Leeds tries.
Hull hit back after Tom Briscoe's quick play-the-ball earned a penalty and Joe Westerman's offload put Joe Arundel in, with David Holdsworth converting.
The game looked set for a tense second half, but it quickly turned into a procession.
Sinfield's long, looping pass put Joel Moon in for a try on his debut, the ex-Salford man doing well to collect the ball and spin over under pressure.
Rob Burrow and Sinfield then combined to send Jamie Peacock bursting through under the posts, before McGuire's brilliant short pass had Chris Clarkson racing in unopposed from 20 metres out.
The Rhinos were rampant by now and McGuire burst over for his 202nd Super League try, before a superb breakaway try from inside his own half from Ryan Hall set the seal on a hugely impressive opening night for the champions.
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First Utility Super League Table
|10||Hull K R||2||0|
|12||Salford Red Devils||2||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 26th February|
|20:00||Leeds vs Huddersfield|
|Friday 27th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Castleford|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:00||Catalans Dragons vs Warrington|
|19:30||Salford vs Hull|
|Sunday 1st March|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Wigan|
|15:00||Widnes vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull vs Leeds|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Widnes|
|20:00||Castleford vs Wigan|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
|Wigan 24 - 16 Huddersfield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|Salford 6 - 52 St Helens|
|Sunday 8th February|
|Castleford 22 - 24 Wakefield|
|Huddersfield 0 - 19 Hull|
|Hull K R 30 - 40 Leeds|
|Saturday 7th February|
|Warrington 22 - 8 Salford|
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