Leeds Rhinos maintained their 100% pre-season record with a 38-6 triumph over fellow Betfred Super League club Hull FC at Headingley Stadium in Tom Briscoe’s testimonial match.
A dominant second-half display which saw the Rhinos score 28 points without reply earned them a convincing win as they continued to look promising in their preparations for the new season – which is now only 13 days away.
The occasion began with a fitting tribute to Briscoe as the 31-year-old was applauded on to the field by all areas of the venue.
It was the visitors who began brightly and were rewarded by getting the first of the encounter in the opening couple of minutes when Luke Gale found Adam Swift to his left who carried the ball over the line.
Gale then converted from the touchline to give the Black and Whites a 6-0 advantage in the early stages.
There was then a break in play due to Hull’s Jake Connor picking up a minor knock and having to receive some treatment. In the end, he was okay to continue.
Brett Hodgson’s side threatened again but Ben McNamara’s through ball had too much power on it and it broke down.
The Rhinos then got their first try with what was their first promising spell of the game when Harry Newman found Rhinos’ skipper Kruise Leeming who carried the ball over the line.
Aidan then stepped up for the conversion and made no mistake in levelling the scores up at 6-6.
However, the home team were dealt a major blow when Newman had to go off with an injury. He was replaced by Liam Sutcliffe.
The East-Yorkshire outfit threatened to regain their advantage when Jordan Lane nearly got through on the right-hand side.
The Rhinos then capitalised and went on to hit the front when Richard Myler played in the overlapping substitute Sutcliffe who took the ball over the line for a try.
Sezer then took his second conversion of the match but ended up striking the post as the score remained 10-6 in the hosts’ favour.
The first disciplinary of the game was then seen when Rhinos debutant David Fusitua completely took out Davy Litten who was in some discomfort. Despite this, the challenge was deemed to have been legal.
Austin was also put in the sin bin for 10 minutes for a charge at Gale.
After a lengthy stoppage to the game, the FC man had to be taken off on a stretcher and was replaced by Harvey Barron.
Cam Smith looked to put the Rhinos in a more commanding lead but the referee ending up blowing the whistle and gave a crossing.
There was no further meaningful action in the opening half meaning the Rhinos maintained their 10-6 lead heading into the interval.
Austin returned from the sin bin for the Rhinos at the start of the second period.
The home team made a flying start to the second-half and got themselves an early try when Myler found the Briscoe who in an emotional moment, carried over the line.
Rhyse Martin took the conversion and put the Rhinos into a 16-6 lead.
Moments later, the hosts added another try when Mikolaj Oledski’s distracted FC defenders which allowed Sezer to easily run through.
Martin once again stepped up for the conversion and hit the target with ease to put his team in even more of a commanding position.
The rampant Rhinos were showing no signs of slowing down and they got yet another try when Ash Handley found Myler to once again touch down past the line.
Martin stepped up for a third-consecutive conversion; however, this time, the second-row forward missed the target as the scores remained 26-6 in the home team’s favour.
The home team’s dominance just would not stop and they got their fourth try of the second-half when forward Zane Tetevano charged down the field before picking out Austin on his right who went on easily carried the ball over the line.
Briscoe stepped up for the conversion and lashed it home to make it 32-6 to the Loiners.
Rhinos’ half-back Sezer went into the sin bin for dissent.
The hosts added another try towards the end of the game when Martin ran through the FC defence and touched down.
Briscoe stepped up for a second-consecutive conversion and once again hit the target to make it 38-6.
That was the end of the action as the Rhinos picked up a yet another pre-season win after a scintillating second-half display.
Kruise Leeming ©