Super League: Leeds Rhinos 28-24 Hull Kingston Rovers
|Betfred Super League|
|Leeds (22) 28|
|Tries: Handley 2, Briscoe, Walker, Parcell Goals: Sutcliffe 4|
|Hull KR (0) 24|
|Tries: Crooks 2, Linnett, Hauraki Goals: Shaw 3, McGuire|
Leeds Rhinos held off a late fightback to climb above Hull Kingston Rovers into 10th in the Super League table.
They blew Rovers away with four first-half tries and seemed set for an easy victory as they moved into a 28-0 lead.
Ben Crooks' two tries gave Rovers hope, although they did not trouble Leeds until the final five minutes.
Kane Linnett and Weller Hauraki went over but, despite Leeds old boy Danny McGuire converting the second try as a drop-goal, they ran out of time.
Two Ash Handley tries and scores from Tom Briscoe and Jack Walker had helped the Rhinos to a 22-0 half-time advantage, and when Matt Parcell crossed shortly after the restart it seemed to be as good as over but Rovers certainly had Leeds rocking in the closing stages.
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Dave Furner's Rhinos are making a habit of fast starts followed by rearguard second-halves at Headingley since beginning to turn their season around several weeks ago.
This match followed a similar pattern to victory over Huddersfield on Good Friday. It almost went the same way as Leeds' previous home league fixture when they needed a golden point to beat Castleford having surged into a 20-4 lead, before wilting under the pressure.
Three successive home wins for a side that lost seven of their first eight Super League matches this season must be a sign of progress for Furner in his first campaign as head coach.
But Leeds hope that injuries sustained by Jack Walker (hamstring), Kallum Watkins (knee) and Brad Dwyer (shoulder) - are not too serious.
Hull KR coach Tim Sheens, who signed Catalans prop Antoni Maria on a month's loan this week, has confirmed that they are on the look-out for more new players to strengthen their depleted squad.
Captain Joel Tomkins is struggling with a back injury which forced from off and Sheens is unsure about veteran forward Lee Jewitt, who is going to visit a head specialist in London this week as he recovers from problems arising from concussion. But prop Mitch Garbutt should be back before the end of May after undergoing surgery.
Leeds coach David Furner:
"We've got a few injuries there, so credit to the players. That was a tough 40 minutes there.
"With Kallum I don't think the injury is as bad - which is a good sign. Jack Walker I'm hoping it's not so bad but I think it's a hamstring.
"That hurt us in the end. We hung on. And I suppose that's what the Easter period is about.
"We've always been moving in the right direction. Things can take you out of that direction, whether it's injuries or inexperience."
Hull KR coach Tim Sheens:
"The club's doing the best it can to sort of strengthen us. Things are being looked at but I'm not saying if we have anyone in mind. We're looking hard at it.
"Lee Jowitt will either get a clearance or a long rest. I'm holding my breath on that one. He's suffering badly from concussion.
"If this one's a bad one I'm concerned about Lee's career too. I'm not going to panic at this stage.
"With Mitch Garbutt, that was very successful, so we expect him back in two to four weeks, probably closer to two. And Mose Masoe will be back in four to five weeks."
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Singleton, Merrin, Dwyer, Sutcliffe, Oledzki, Smith, Newman.
Interchanges: Cuthbertson, Parcell, Donaldson, Trout.
Hull KR: Hall, Crooks, Keinhorst, Shaw, McGuire, Mulhern, Lunt, Tomkins, Vaivai, Lawler, Lannon, Linnett, Drinkwater.
Interchanges: Hauraki, Atkin, Harrison, Maria.