Hull FC remain unbeaten after a tight victory at Headingley


Hull FC remain unbeaten as they edged out Leeds Rhinos 22-18 in a thriller at Headingley stadium. Four tries, including one for Liam Sutcliffe on his return to his old club, were enough to secure the win for the visitors.

Cam Scott, Adam Swift and Scott Taylor added the other tries for Hull while Leeds replied with tries from Cam Smith, Kruise Leeming and David Fusitua.

After a back and forth start it was Hull who opened the scoring in the tenth minute. After back to back sets on the Leeds line Hull spread the ball wide through Ben McNamara and then Jake Clifford who put Cam Scott through a gap in the defence to score.

Leeds hit back ten minutes later through Cameron Smith. After putting pressure on the Hull line Leeming shot out from dummy half and gave the ball to Smith who rode the low tackle of a defender and stretched out to ground the ball. Leeds could have had another after Jake Clifford kicked out the restart on the full but Kruise Leeming was brought down as he tried to force his way over from dummy half on the last.

Hull retook the lead six minutes later as Liam Sutcliffe notched on his return to Headingley after Chris Satae was put through a gap in the Leeds defence. The big man was eventually caught but he managed to offload the ball which made its way out to Sutcliffe who dived over in the corner.

Hull dominated the play in the final ten minutes of the half but they couldn’t add to their 10-6 lead. They came closest when Kane Evans thought he had barged his way over despite the attention of the Leeds defence but the video referee deemed he spilled the ball as he tried to ground it. 

It was a frantic start to the second half before Hull FC struck on the 50 minute mark . The Leeds defence was passive after a Kane Evans offload which meant that Josh Griffin was able to burst through the defensive line. The second rower passed to Adam Swift who rounded Richie Myler to score in front of his own fans. Jake Clifford converted the try to extend Hull’s lead to ten points.

Leeds reduced Hull’s lead to four points as Kruise Leeming crossed just before the hour mark. The home side’s replacement prop Justin Sangare broke through the line before offloading to Kruise Leeming who dived over under the posts.

The Rhinos then botched two chances created through line breaks before eventually taking the lead with ten minutes to go. The home side had back to back sets attacking the Hull line and the pressure finally told as Leeds spread the ball wide through Sezer who found David Fusitua with a misspass on the wing. The winger cut back inside and dived over in the corner. Rhyse Martin made no mistake with the conversion to give Leeds a 18-16 lead.

The home side’s lead would not last long as Hull scored minutes later. A knock-on gave Hull possession inside the Leeds half and Scott Taylor was able to barge over from close range despite the attention of two Leeds defenders.

This proved to be the winning try as despite the best efforts of the Rhinos they could not engineer another try scoring opportunity. This means that the Rhinos remain winless in 2023 while Hull FC have started their season with two wins in as many games.

Speaking after the game Rohan Smith said that he felt his team created a lot of chances but failed to capitalise on them. 

He added: “there were a couple of poor defensive moments that we were punished for again but overall I thought our defence looked largely in control. Tonight there was a lot of intent and effort put in and we put ourselves in a position to win the game.Those things are pleasing but we didn’t go on [to win it]so everyone is disappointed.”

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