Hull FC went down 34-10 to Leeds Rhinos on a soaking wet night at Headingley Stadium on Friday evening.
The Black & Whites weren’t able to make early pressure count against the resurgent Rhinos.
Tries from James McDonnell, an Ash Handley brace, Tom Holroyd, Mikolaj Oledzki and Rhyse Martin were enough for the Rhinos, with Carlos Tuimavave and Davy Litten grabbing consolation tries for the Black & Whites.
Tony Smith made five changes from last week’s game against Hull KR, with Jake Clifford (ankle), Jamie Shaul (calf), Scott Taylor (calf), Mitieli Vulikijapani (knee & suspension) and Kane Evans (suspension) all dropping out of the side.
That meant a reshuffle of his deck for Smith, who brought in Davy Litten for the first Super League start of his career at full back, as well as Will Gardiner making his first appearance of the season from the interchange bench.
Smith, on his return to Headingley also brough Danny Houghton, Joe Lovodua and Jack Brown back into his team after recent spells out of the match day 17.
Rohan Smith, facing his uncle Tony for the second time in a matter of weeks, had the luxury of being able to name a settled side, opting to make just one change to his starting squad with James Bentley dropping out of contention altogether.
Smith brought Sam Lisone in for just his second start of the season at prop, with Zane Tetevano moving to the back row and young outside back Liam Tindall lining up on the interchange bench for his maiden appearance of 2023.
Hull started the brighter of the two sides, with an extended spell of possession, which began from a lightning break from Davy Litten with Hull’s first use of the ball.
Perhaps Hull’s best chance of the half came after an outstanding defensive set restricted Leeds to just 15 meters, but the came to nothing as Carlos Tuimavave was bundled into touch.
More chances came Hull’s way, but Jordan Lane was held just shy of the line, and Liam Sutcliffe knocked on a Ben McNamara kick.
From there Leeds grew into the game, and scored the first of their tries after stripping Hull’s left side of numbers and James McDonnell went through a hole to score.
Shortly afterwards the Rhinos went back to back, first through Ash Handley before Tom Holroyd scored.
A scrappy end to the first half played out from there, both sides unable to retain possession or create telling chances.
Half Time: Leeds Rhinos 18 – 0 Hull FC
Leeds picked up the second half much where they left off from the first, dominating field position, and were able to make it count as Ash Handley stepped through a gap in the Hull defense to score, with Rhyse Martin maintaining his 100% record from the boot.
Hull got themselves on the board just before the hour mark, a Ben McNamara kick to the corner patted back by Darnell McIntosh and Carlos Tuimavave gathered the loose ball to score out wide.
That was as good as it got for Hull, as the Rhinos scored next as Mikolaj Oledzki charged over under the posts, Martin again accurate from the tee.
The Black & Whites were next to score, as Carlos Tuimavave ran a lovely line against his opposite number, finding an offload to the impressive Litten who twisted out of the tackle to score.
Rhyse Martin was next to cross for the Rhinos, pinching a four pointer from dummy half, hitting the post with his effort from the left touchline.
Full Time: Leeds Rhinos 34 – 10 Hull FC
The Line Ups
Leeds Rhinos: Richie Myler, Nene Macdonald, Harry Newman, Rhyse Martin, Ash Handley, Blake Austin, Aidan Sezer, Mikolaj Oledzki, Jarrod O’Connor, Sam Lisone, James McDonnell, Zane Tetevano, Cameron Smith.
Interchange: Corey Johnson, Justin Sangare, Liam Tindall, Tom Holroyd
18th Man: James Donaldson
Hull FC: Davy Litten, Darnell McIntosh, Carlos Tuimavave, Liam Sutcliffe, Adam Swift, Joe Lovodua, Ben McNamara, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Brad Fash, Josh Griffin, Jordan Lane, Joe Cator.
Interchange: Chris Satae, Brad Dwyer, Jack Brown, Will Gardiner
18th Man: Cam Scott
Leeds Rhinos Tries: James McDonnell, Ash Handley (2), Tom Holroyd, Mikolaj Oledzki, Rhyse Martin
Leeds Rhinos Goals: Rhyse Martin (5/6)
Hull FC Tries: Carlos Tuimavave, Davy Litten
Hull FC Goals: Ben McNamara (1/2)
Peregrine Property Man of the Match: Davy Litten
Attendance, In Association with Garbutts: 12644