Leeds 18-22 Hull FC: Five takeaways as Scott Taylor scores late winner
A late try from Scott Taylor saw Hull FC claim a 22-18 victory over Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Stadium, seeing the Black & Whites go two from two in the early stages of the 2023 Super League season.
The defeat is Rohan Smith’s first at home in charge of the Rhinos.
Leeds were leading heading into the dying minutes of the tie, but a mistake inside their own half allowed Hull FC to take their chance through Taylor and claim the two Super League points on offer.
Hull opened the scoring through Cam Scott, before Leeds hit back with Cameron Smith’s solo effort.
Liam Sutcliffe scored against his former club to regain his side’s lead for a 10-6 score at the break.
The visitors extended that lead through Adam Swift, his third of the season, thanks to a break from Josh Griffin.
However, Leeds made a game of it in the latter stages, first scoring through Kruise Leeming before David Fusitu’a scored his first of the season.
But it was Taylor who broke the hearts of the Headingley crowd, scoring on the 73rd minute for a 22-18 victory.
Here are our five takeaways from the Super League fixture…
Super League’s first ever uncle versus nephew fixture
Sky Sports opened their coverage with the tale of the fixture – uncle Tony Smith versus nephew Rohan Smith.
As expected, it’s the first time such a feat has happened in Super League. And it was Smith senior who saw his side claim the victory, remaining undefeated in 2023.
And in a funny state of affairs, it was referee Jack Smith in the middle, while another Smith in Cameron scored Leeds’ first try.
Leeds’ lack of centres
In their opening round 42-10 defeat to Warrington, injuries forced Rohan Smith to name wingers David Fusitu’a and Ash Handley in the centres.
And Handley featured there again against Hull and was found out of position for Hull’s first as Scott found space to beat his opposite man.
Nene Macdonald did of course make his Leeds return and started in the centres. But Leeds might be wishing they kept a hold of Levi Edwards, who left ahead of the season for York, while Harry Newman continues to recover from injury.
Leeds could have won that game if they had took their chances. The Rhinos fumbled three long-range breaks in the second half that would have given them a comfortable lead.
And they had a handful of errors in their own half – including Macdonald’s mistake in the dying minutes that led to Taylor’s match-winning try.
Hull FC themselves weren’t perfect, but they did enough – just – on the night to make it two from two.
Arguably Leeds’ best player on the field last week, Justin Sangare had an immediate impact from the bench again on his home debut.
The France international was introduced to the field just after the 50 minute mark, and just minutes later assisted Leeming with an offload for the hooker to slide under the sticks and score Leeds’ second try.
Offloads, offloads, offloads
Hull’s big men caused some damage with their offloads against the Rhinos. Chris Satae’s offload to keep the ball alive eventually led to Sutcliffe’s try against his former club in the first half.
Meanwhile, Kane Evans’ run and offload created some space in the second half, leading to Jordan Lane linking up with Griffin all to assists Swift’s third try of the season.
Having picked up three Man of Steel points on his Super League debut, Hoy impressed again and was awarded the official man of the match by Sky Sports.
Half-back Jake Clifford was also lively during the 80 minute clash and kicked three from four.
How it happened
12’ The visitors open the scoring as Cam Scott goes over in the corner. Jake Clifford can’t convert. (0-4)
20’ Leeds hit back not long after, with Cameron Smith shows his strength to crash his way over. Rhyse Martin converts to give his side a lead. (6-4)
26’ Liam Sutcliffe crosses against his former club, with Chris Satae keeping the ball alive with an offload. Clifford converts. (6-10)
HT: Leeds 6-10 Hull
49’ Hull keep the ball alive and a break from Josh Griffin allows him to assists Adam Swift in support and extend his side’s lead. (6-16)
55’ Kruise Leeming slides under the sticks thanks to an offload from forward Justin Sangare close to the line. Martin converts. (12-16)
69’ Leeds blow three opportunities but eventually score again. Winger David Fusitu’a scoring his first of the season in the corner. Martin gives his side the lead with the extras. (18-16)
73’ Prop forward Scott Taylor crashes his way over just next to the sticks, his first try in four years. Clifford converts. (18-22)
FT: Leeds 18-22 Hull FC
How they lined-up
Leeds: Myler, Fusitu’a, Macdonald, Handley, Olpherts, Austin, Sezer, Holroyd, Leeming, Tetevano, Gannon, Martin, Smith. Bench: O’Connor, Lisone, Donaldson, Sangare.
Tries: Smith, Leeming, Fusitu’a Goals: Martin 3/3
Hull FC: Hoy, McIntosh, Scott, Sutcliffe, Swift, McNamara, Clifford, Fash, Dwyer, Taylor, Lane, Griffin, Lovodua. Bench: Cator, Evans, Houghton, Satae.
Tries: Scott, Sutcliffe, Swift, Taylor Goals: Clifford 3/4
What they said
Hull boss Tony told Jenna Brooks on Sky Sports: “There was all sorts going on there. But it’s one of those wins that we needed to win as well.
“We needed to dig in when it got a bit tough. It’s all well and good to be up front and win games, but to come from behind, it showed character and a bit of grit and graft.
“We needed that kind of work out tonight.”
Rohan Smith’s commented: “I thought we created more than enough chances and we won the physical battle, but we did not execute enough.
“There was a lot of intent today. I thought we won the game in a lot of ways, except on the scoreboard.”
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