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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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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
|First Utility Super League|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalans Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalans Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalans Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
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