Moon at the double on return for Rhinos

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Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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Centre Joel Moon grabbed two tries on his return from injury as Leeds went back to the top of the First Utility Super League with a hard-fought 32-20 win over Hull.

The Rhinos had won just two of their previous seven games, but showed encouraging signs of a return to form with a five-try show to take advantage of St Helens’ defeat at Castleford.

Hull played their part in an entertaining clash at Headingley and will have a chance to exact their revenge when they teams meet again in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final at the KC Stadium on Friday.

Full- back Zak Hardaker and Moon were both back for the home side, although both coaches perhaps had one eye on the Cup tie, with Brian McDermott leaving out Rob Burrow and Hull’s Lee Radford omitting Jordan Rankin and Joe Westerman.

Winger Curtis Naughton was preferred by Radford to leading try-scorer Tom Lineham, who has not played since announcing his move to Warrington, but he had an unhappy start by dropping the ball with his first touch.

That enabled Leeds to dominate the early stages and they duly took the lead when scrum-half Danny McGuire freed winger Ryan Hall with a cut-out ball before taking a return pass to touch down for the 270th try of his career.

Liam Sutcliffe added the goal, but Hull were level on 16 minutes after a storming run from second rower Mark Minichiello set up the position for loose forward Jordan Thompson to bump off McGuire and touch down for a try that Marc Sneyd goaled.

Hardaker’s return provided the Rhinos with an extra attacking weapon and it was from his high kick to corner that helped them go back in front, Hall palming the ball back for Jimmy Keinhorst to get Moon over the line.

Both sides then missed glorious scoring chances, with Sneyd breaking clear but failing to release winger Steve Michaels and Leeds second rower Carl Ablett charging over from 40 metres out only to be held up over the line by full-back Jamie Shaul.

Leading 10-6, Leeds crucially scored again three minutes before the break when Naughton spilled the ball to gift a try to Keinhorst and skipper Kevin Sinfield, introduced as a substitute midway through the first half, added the goal to open up a 10-point lead.

The Rhinos lost Sutcliffe with a knee injury in the first half and Hull were also handed a worry ahead of the Cup-tie when Minichiello limped off four minutes into the second half.

The visitors shrugged off that disappointment to score their second try almost immediately when veteran stand-off Leon Pryce combined with Minichiello’s replacement Richard Whiting to get Naughton over at the corner.

Leeds opened up a 12-point lead on 52 minutes when Sinfield combined with the excellent Keinhorst and McGuire to get Moon over for his second try, but they could never relax against their spirited opponents.

Hooker Danny Houghton went over for Hull’s third try from a superb offload by Liam Watts, with Sneyd kicking his second goal, and Leeds were forced into some desperate defence in the last quarter.

Skipper Gareth Ellis was hauled down short of the line after a determined run and centre Fetuli Talanoa was turned on his back after getting over on the last tackle.

The Rhinos were hanging on grimly at that stage, but McGuire relieved the pressure by running back a wayward kick from Sneyd and, when he was held down in the tackle, Sinfield stepped up to put over a 40-metre penalty that put two scores between the teams.

Sneyd was shown a yellow card for the offence while McGuire was also sin-binned for kicking out in the tackle as both sides finished with 12 men.

Hull used the extra space to score a fourth try seven minutes from the end when Talanoa finished off a break by substitute Jordan Abdull but Leeds had the final say when Sinfield put over a second penalty and converted Ablett’s last-minute try.

Copyright Press Association 2015

Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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