Leeds Rhinos 12 Hull KR 0: Nightmare night for Rovers as injuries compound defeat

For the first time in Super League history, Hull KR arrived at Headingley as favourites.

Leeds celebrate Matt Prior's try. (Picture: SWPix.com)
Leeds celebrate Matt Prior's try. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Rovers had a record in their sights and held all the cards against a Leeds Rhinos side missing 13 players through injury and suspension.

But rarely is it that straightforward with the Robins as hope turned to despair in the space of 80 torturous minutes.

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If a first defeat in seven games was not bad enough - meaning KR fell just short of a club record for consecutive wins in the Super League era - they also lost Lachlan Coote and Sam Wood to injury on a nightmare night in Leeds.

Lachlan Coote received treatment for a separate issue earlier in the game. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Coote in particular looks highly likely to miss next week's Challenge Cup semi-final against Huddersfield Giants after a thunderous hit by Kruise Leeming that forced both players off for HIAs.

Albert Vete, meanwhile, was left sweating over a potential ban after being sin-binned for a high shot.

While Tony Smith will be cursing his luck, nephew Rohan would have been hugely encouraged by what he saw from his new side as he watched on from Australia.

It was a heroic effort from the Rhinos in the face of adversity and they were full value for the 12-0 win.

Morgan Gannon celebrates his game-breaking try. (Picture: SWPix.com)

With key players on the way back and Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity up next after the two-week break, Rohan Smith will be filled with hope ahead of his arrival in Leeds next Tuesday.

Hull KR must regroup as they switch their attention to the trip to Elland Road, although they will at least have some troops back on board after Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Jez Litten were rested at Headingley.

The Robins fired an early warning shot when Dean Hadley broke from deep but the Rhinos were the team to strike first with a helping hand from Ben Crooks.

The centre invited Leeds into KR territory with a high shot and then spilled a routine kick in behind from Blake Austin to gift Matt Prior a fifth-minute try.

Ethan Ryan tries to find a way through the Leeds defence. (Picture: SWPix.com)

There was a whiff of complacency about Rovers with poor discipline and execution giving the Rhinos a leg up.

Leeds, meanwhile, were playing with unbridled enthusiasm and went close to extending their lead when Ash Handley was hauled down by Crooks just short of the line.

Sensing a weakness, the Rhinos kept going back to KR's right edge and should have been further ahead by the time referee James Child brought an instantly forgettable first half to an end.

If ever there was an advert for scrapping the Easter double-header, this was it.

Ryan Hall was back on his old stomping ground. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Both teams were playing their fourth game in the space of a fortnight and it showed in a half littered with basic errors.

When Rovers went in scoreless against Toulouse Olympique on Easter Monday, Tony Smith ripped into his players and got the desired response.

There were positive signs in the way the Robins went about their business after the interval, Ryan Hall denied a special try against his old club by a forward pass.

But the Rhinos were the fresher side throughout and they scored the all-important second try on 48 minutes through the prodigiously talented Morgan Gannon.

Leeming's grubber kick caused havoc in the Hull KR defence and Gannon was on hand to touch down, sparking joyous scenes in front of the Global Stand.

Rhyse Martin missed his conversion attempt but it had the look of an insurmountable lead.

The loss of Coote was the final nail in KR's coffin with the home fans loving every minute of a courageous performance from their side.

Martin knocked over a penalty following a high shot to make it 12-0 and that is how it remained heading into the closing stages.

Handley almost put the icing on the cake as the Rhinos kept the ball alive, with Korbin Sims held up at the other end with Rovers hunting an unlikely comeback after the loss of Vete.

But there was no way through for the visitors against a side that appear to have turned the corner.

Leeds Rhinos: Broadbent, Tindall, Martin, Simpson, Handley, Austin, Leeming, Oledzki, Dwyer, Prior, Gannon, Donaldson, Smith.

Substitutes: Sinfield, Thompson, O'Connor, Mustapha.

Hull KR: Coote, Ryan, Crooks, Wood, Hall, Abdull, Milnes, Vete, Parcell, King, Hadley, Storton, Minchella.

Substitutes: Sims, Keinhorst, Maher, Richards.

Referee: James Child.