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After a perfect start to the season, humiliating their arch enemies from across the city, Hull Kingston Rovers welcomed the Leeds Rhinos to Craven Park for the opening match of round two of Super League XXIX, hoping for another clean sheet but happy to settle for a win and the important two points.

The only change to the starting thirteen for the home side was the promotion of George King and the selection of Corey Hall to the bench in place of Matt Parcell (suspended) while Leeds had Justin Sangare in for Oledzki (shoulder), Bentley stepping off the bench into the starting line-up in place of Donaldson and Alfie Edgell for Lachlan Miller who was taken ill on the coach.

The home side were the favourites for the win, the Rhinos given a six-point start on the handicap coupon as the bookies believed that Mikey Lewis would again turn on the style and the Rhinos would struggle on the road.

A defensive mistake from Peta Hiku, losing the ball when trying to collect a Leeds kick through on the Rhinos first attack of the game, saw the KR full back hold down in the tackle and take a ten-minute rest for slowing the play the ball.

The pitch was soon resembling a ploughed field as both sides struggled with their footing.

Just under ten minutes were on the clock when some sensational passing from the Rhinos saw Harry Newman burrow under the KR defenders to try ten metres in from the right corner flag. Rhyse Martin added the conversion for a 6-0 lead to the visitors.

Goal line defence from Cameron Smith denied Jai Whitbread as the Rhinos captain got his body under the ball.

On thirty-two a Jez Litten grubber kick came back of the post pad and into the hands of a diving Jesse Sue to ground under the posts. Litten took over the kicking duties after last weeks poor performance from Hiku and slotted the ball between the uprights to level the scores.

Edgell knocked on when trying to take a high kick with a minute of the half remaining and on the second play a high tackle from James Donaldson saw the Rhinos player yellow carded with Litten taking in the opportunity to kick the penalty goal from twenty metres and give his side an 8-6 lead going into the interval.

With Leeds still down to twelve men, Ryan Hall picked up scooped pass from Oliver Gildart after a messy period of play and went down the left wing to dive over and score in the corner. Litten converted brilliantly from wide to extend the lead to eight points.

KR were piling on the pressure as the Rhinos returned to thirteen, the visitors looking visibly tired and struggling to work the ball away from their own line.

The Rhinos scored a try from nothing on fifty-seven when Ash Handley caught a cross field kick from Brodie Croft and sprinted eighty metres to score under the Hull KR stick and give Martin a simple conversion for 12-14. Leeds had played with their backs to the wall for twenty minutes and scored a try out of nothing.

Sam Lisone became the second Leeds player to be sin-binned on sixty-six after a head contact on Elliot Minchella. Litton kicked the goal to double the lead to four points with Leeds down a man for all but the last four minutes of the game.

On seventy minutes Hiku outpaced the Leeds defence and dove on a Tyrone May grubber into goal to score under the sticks. Litten added the goal and with a 22-12 lead the game was over and the Robins had their second win from their opening two fixtures.

The was a gritty battle between two decent sides with Hull KR able to take full advantage when the Rhinos indiscipline cost them players to the sin bin. The Robins defence was resolute when it needed to be and they stifled the Rhinos expansive play, while they took their opportunities with style. Litten looks like the new Hull KR kicker as was as good with the boot tonight as Hiku was bad last week. Hull KR are momentarily at the top of the early season table, the Rhinos still finding their feet with their new squad.

Hull KR: Hiku (T, SB on 6), Evalds, Opacic, Gildart, Hall R (T), May, Lewis, King, Litten (5G), Whitbread, Tanginoa, Batchelor, Minchella. Subs: Sue (T), King, Hall C, Aydin. 18th Man: Tennison.

Leeds Rhinos: Edgell, Roberts, Newman (T), Momirovski, Handley (T), Croft, Frawley, Sangare, Ackers, Goudemand, Bentley, Martin (2G), Smith.  Subs: Donaldson (SB on 39), Lisone (SB on 66), Ruan, O’Connor. 18th Man: Johnson.

Half-Time: 8-6.

Full-Time: 22-12.

Score Progression: (SB), 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6, (SB), 8-6 : HT: 12-6, 14-6, 14-10, 14-12, (SB), 16-12, 20-12, 22-12 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Leeds – Square – KR.

Referee: Jack Smith.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 22nd Feb 2024 9:48 PM | Views : 4122 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES