Super League: Hull FC 18-6 Leeds Rhinos
Hull FC (18) 18
- Westerman, Crooks, Houghton
- Holdsworth 3
Leeds Rhinos (0) 6
Hull FC showed their Super League title credentials with an impressive victory against a Leeds Rhinos side who have now lost their last four matches.
The game was won in the first half with Joe Westerman, Ben Crooks and Danny Houghton scoring tries for the hosts as their visitors remained scoreless.
Brett Delaney went over for Leeds after the break and injuries to Danny McGuire and Kallum Watkins will be a concern.
Hull moved above the Rhinos into fourth with victory in a fifth straight game.
Six and seven have been problem positions at times for them this season, prompting a move for Jacob Miller from Wests Tigers, but Daniel Holdsworth and Aaron Heremaia were influential in the halves, creating opportunities for a dangerous three-quarter line.
Injuries to two of Leeds's major try threats could be a potential headache for Brian McDermott, as it will in the case of Watkins for England coach Steve McNamara going into next month's Exiles fixture.
While Leeds certainly contributed to their own downfall with persistent offending that gifted the home side penalties, Hull were adventurous and made a thrilling start.
The Airlie Birds roared ahead within two minutes. Shannon McDonnell made the half-break and fed Crooks, and his offload found the supporting Westerman who crossed with Holdsworth landing the conversion.
Successive infringements from Kylie Leuluai, Ryan Hall and Jamie Jones-Buchanan handed Hull field position and penalties, with Holdsworth slotting in from close in for two points from the latter.
Crooks scored a superb breakaway try to further impose Hull dominance, with Tom Lineham's gather from Kevin Sinfield's chip to the corner and subsequent burst the catalyst.
Zak Hardaker forced a drop-out from Hull, his kick tapped dead by McDonnell with Hall looming, but the visitors failed to capitalise and almost conceded a third try when Holdsworth scampered onto a flat pass but dropped with the line in sight.
Leeds's evening worsened when Watkins limped off and after Hull had a Kirk Yeaman try ruled out and Holdsworth missed from the tee, Houghton powered through after further indiscipline to establish a commanding half-time lead.
Despite Leeds losing McGuire to injury, the second period was more competitive, and the visitors showed great heart in the absence of two creative talents.
Delaney had enough in the tank to hold off McDonnell's tackle after a superb Liam Sutcliffe break to get the Rhinos on the board and Sinfield's kick cleared the gap.
Yeaman missed the opportunity to help Hull pull further clear when he ran the ball to the corner instead of passing infield to the supporting Jay Pitts, while Joel Moon was held up at the other end as Leeds poured forward.
Holdsworth thumped a 40-20 to give Hull field position and lift the pressure as time ticked down but failed to land a drop-goal when directly in front of the posts.
It proved academic, as Hull leapfrogged Leeds in the Super League table.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Hull FC head coach Peter Gentle:
"We have got a special group in there but we are probably a bit guilty of not trying to lose the game in the second half.
"We are staying grounded, we are happy with what we have done.
"There are still a few games to go and Leeds have got a few games up their sleeve. We are not getting carried away. These games coming up will define our season. There are a lot of good teams out there."
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott:
"Kallum has got an ankle injury and hopefully finger crossed he hasn't got a break. Danny McGuire has an ankle injury and it's too early to say what it is.
"It's not good news on both fronts. I don't think they will be two or three weeks, I think they will be longer than that.
"I didn't think we were that good in the first 20 minutes and Hull had us in every area of the game.
"Giving the opposition a start like we did is not good enough. You can call it what you want. I think we are having a bad run."
Hull FC: McDonnell; Lineham, Crooks, Yeaman, T. Briscoe; Holdsworth, Heremaia; O'Meley, Houghton, Green, Ellis, Westerman, Pitts.
Replacements: Lynch, Watts, Galea, Johnson.
Leeds: Hardaker, Vickery, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Sinfield, Leuluai, Burrow, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Clarkson.
Replacements: McShane, Kirke, Singleton, Sutcliffe.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).