Hull Kingston Rovers 16-41 Leeds Rhinos: Ash Handley's double helps strengthen top-four claims
Last Updated: 24/09/20 6:10pm
Ash Handley crossed twice as Leeds Rhinos ran in seven tries to rout Hull Kingston Rovers 41-16 and consolidate their top-four spot in Super League in Thursday's opening match.
The double-chasing Rhinos showed no mercy on their former Grand Final-winning coach Tony Smith as they took their points total in three games against his Robins team in 2020 to 141.
The only disappointment for Leeds was the loss of centre Harry Newman with suspected fractures of his tibia and fibula.
The highlight for Hull KR was the promising debut of 18-year-old full-back Will Tate, who was brought in by Smith as one of 11 changes to the team that lost 48-18 to the Rhinos in the Challenge Cup a week earlier.
Former Hull FC winger Nick Rawsthorne also caught the eye on his first Super League appearance for Rovers, who have no problem scoring tries but demonstrated just why they have the worst defensive record in Super League.
Leeds showed their threat as early as the fourth minute when prop Mikolaj Oledszki broke through the heart of the Rovers defence to get hooker Kruise Leeming haring for the line.
Rawsthorne saved the day by getting his body under the Leeds player to prevent a try but it only delayed the inevitable as the Rhinos moved the play out wide for stand-off Robert Lui to send second-rower Rhyse Martin through a gap for the opening score.
Richie Myler, who is looking more at home in the full-back role with each game, carved out winger Handley's first after 10 minutes and ought to have done the same for scrum-half Luke Gale but ruined the move with a forward pass.
It mattered little, though, as the Rhinos continued to look likely to score at any time and they duly extended their lead as another short pass from Lui got replacement James Donaldson over for their third with his first touch of the ball.
The game was held up for Newman to receive lengthy treatment on the pitch before being carried off on a stretcher but Leeds did not allow the loss to affect them as Myler finished off a break by second-rower Alex Mellor to score their fourth try.
Martin kicked his fourth conversion to make it 24-0 but Rovers struck in the last minute of the half through former Leeds centre Jimmy Keinhorst after Rawsthorne had palmed the ball back from Jez Litten's kick to the corner.
Ryan Brierley added the goal but Leeds added to their score five minutes into the second half when Handley, who switched to centre following the departure of Newman, took Myler's pass to score his second try.
Brierley pulled another try back for Rovers, touching down Elliot Minchella's kick to the line, but their defence continued to leak like a sieve.
Gale put Mellor through a hole in their defence and helped engineer an overlap for replacement winger Luke Briscoe to go over for his side's seventh try.
Martin lost his 100 per cent record with the boot and Hull KR winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall grabbed a late try courtesy of an acrobatic finish at the corner before Gale wrapped up the scoring with a drop goal.