Ben Guzdek reviews Leeds’ stunning performance over the in-form Hull KR side.
|7th||Try: Ava Seumanufagai. Conversion: Rhys Martin (Leeds)||Leeds 6-0 Hull KR|
|10th||Try: Luke Gale. Conversion: Martin (Leeds)||Leeds 12-0 Hull KR|
|15th||Try: Tom Briscoe. Conversion: Martin (Leeds)||Leeds 18-0 Hull KR|
|21st||Try: Harry Newman. Conversion: Martin (Leeds)||Leeds 24-0 Hull KR|
|40th||Try: Kruise Leeming. Conversion: Martin (Leeds)||Leeds 30-0 Hull KR|
|46th||Try: Jamie Ellis. Conversion: Ellis (Hull KR)||Leeds 30-6 Hull KR|
|54th||Try: Leeming. Conversion: Martin (Leeds)||Leeds 36-6 Hull KR|
|59th||Try: T Briscoe. Conversion: Martin (Leeds)||Leeds 42-6 Hull KR|
|63rd||Try: Jez Litten. Conversion: Ellis (Hull KR)||Leeds 42-12 Hull KR|
|73rd||Try: Ellis. Conversion: Ellis (Hull KR)||Leeds 42-18 Hull KR|
|77th||Try: Martin. Conversion: Martin (Leeds)||Leeds 48-18 Hull KR|
The Rhinos dominated the first half from kick off and a knock on from Ethan Ryan inside of the first five minutes put Tony Smith’s side on the back foot.
With the winger dropping the ball 20 metres from his side’s line, a charge by Matt Prior at the try line set up Leeming, who fed the ball for Ava Seumanufagai to charge through a big gap in Hull KR’s defensive line.
Moments later Ash Handley doubled Leeds’ advantage. Hull KR centre Kane Linnett batted the ball back into the hands of Mikolaj Oledzki to turn over possession and a few plays later, Luke Gale spotted a gaping hole in the defensive line.
The half back sped through and showed composure under pressure to feed the ball to Liam Sutcliffe, who in turn found winger Handley, who touched the ball down under pressure from Ryan. The decision went up to the video referee, who gave the green light. Martin converted both tries as Leeds led 12-0.
Just like in 2015, Tom Briscoe came back to haunt the Robins in similar fashion to his first try in that record breaking Wembley final. Leeming took a Prior offload and sped away downfield following a set restart and Leeds sensed more points.
Moving right, Rob Lui fed Martin, who slowed the play down momentarily before releasing the ball for Newman to put Briscoe in space. Shrugging off Mikey Lewis, the Leeds winger brought back memories for the Rhinos fans watching at home as he powered his way over in a similar fashion to five years ago.
Having set up Briscoe, Newman got Leeds’ fourth with under 20 minutes played. Hull KR were punished for another error by referee Liam Moore, and Gale’s booming touchline kick camped the Rhinos on the try line.
Like a few minutes earlier, the ball swiftly moved right to centre Newman, who stepped back inside and cut through the heart of the Robins defence to touch down next to the posts. Martin was on target again with both kicks, taking the score to 24-0.
In the closing stages of the half, Leeming showed incredible strength to burrow his way over for his first Leeds try. Hull KR was penalised for ripping the ball and Gale’s kick put Leeds 30 metres from Rovers’ line.
Tom Holroyd was been held up short but instead of passing the ball out wide, the Leeds hooker decided to keep the ball, spun out of three ‘would-be’ tackles and pushed his way over the line to cap off a great first half performance. Martin continued his perfect record with the boot, slotting his fifth between the uprights as Leeds took a 30-0 lead into half time.
Only four minutes into the second period, Leeds went down to 12-men as Seumanufagai was sent to the sin bin for contact with Matty Gee’s head. Jamie Ellis took full advantage of the extra man, grubbering the ball through the Leeds line to touch down one handed for Hull KR’s first points of the game. The half back converted his own try to make the score 30-6.
Rovers looked to score back to back tries and a bomb to the right hand side looked dangerous but full back Myler got up high to take the ball and stop the play. He was on hand minutes later to set up Leeming for a second score though; Myler racing through another gap in Rovers’ defence and then passing inside for Leeming to score again.
Seumanufagai was reintroduced from the sin bin and the Rhinos were immediately on the attack once more; Newman coming tantalisingly close to taking in an offload over the head of Lui before prop Seumanufagai just couldn’t take in a pass from Gale to cross for his second.
It didn’t matter though as Ellis threw a poor pass that Leeds substitute Luke Briscoe recovered to race away and join his brother on the scoresheet. Martin continued his success in front of goal, slotting his seventh of the evening.
Hull KR showed some fight to leave the field with more than one try; Jez Litten ducking under the challenge of Martin to force his way to the line and ten minutes later, Ellis shrugged off the challenge of Alex Mellor to touch down for his second of the game. The Hull KR half back converted both tries as Rovers closed the gap to 42-18.
It would be Martin that capped off a brilliant team and personal performance with minutes remaining in the game. The second rower was just too strong for Dean Hadley and Weller Hauraki, fending both player away to ground the ball. Another conversion from out wide sailed between the sticks as the Rhinos marched through to the semi finals 48-18 winners.
There has been a few controversial moments that have occurred since the restart and tonight was no exception.
Referee Liam Moore called for a stoppage as former Robin James Donaldson mentioned he had been bitten by Jamie Ellis.
The incident was put on report, which capped off a night to forget for Hull Kingston Rovers who had been playing brilliantly since the return from lockdown.
Leeds: Richie Myler, Tom Briscoe, Harry Newman, Liam Sutcliffe, Ash Handley, Rob Lui, Luke Gale, Ava Seumanufagai, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Mikolaj Oledzki.
Interchanges: Luke Briscoe, Callum McLelland, Tom Holroyd, James Donaldson.
Interchanges: Jez Litten, Matty Gee, Nathaniel Peteru, Dan Murray.