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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||22||20|
|11||Salford Red Devils||22||17|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||22||4|
|Thursday 31st July|
|20:00||Wigan vs Salford|
|Friday 1st August|
|20:00||Hull vs St Helens|
|20:00||Catalan Dragons vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Bradford|
|Sunday 3rd August|
|15:00||Widnes vs Hull K R|
|15:00||Wakefield vs Huddersfield|
|15:30||Castleford vs London Broncos|
|Thursday 14th August|
|20:00||Hull K R vs Wigan|
|Friday 15th August|
|20:00||Salford vs Catalan Dragons|
|20:00||Warrington vs Castleford|
|Sunday 27th July|
|Huddersfield 38 - 16 Catalan Dragons|
|Bradford 16 - 8 Wigan|
|Warrington 26 - 40 Wakefield|
|Saturday 26th July|
|London Broncos 10 - 62 Hull K R|
|Friday 25th July|
|Salford 18 - 22 Leeds|
|St Helens 44 - 22 Widnes|
|Thursday 24th July|
|Hull 18 - 18 Castleford|
|Sunday 20th July|
|Hull K R 18 - 38 Salford|
|Huddersfield 52 - 26 Bradford|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Catalan Dragons 40 - 6 Wakefield|
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