England discard Jake Connor produced another masterclass to help Hull to an impressive 31-8 rout of lacklustre Leeds.
A fortnight after producing six try assists in the Black and Whites’ win over Salford, the former Huddersfield full-back scored two first-half tries and created one for winger Adam Swift as Hull established an unassailable 18-0 half-time lead.
Makeshift scrum-half Joe Lovodua, one of three Fijians in the visitors’ starting line-up, then took control after the break, creating a try for forward Andre Savelio and scoring one himself as Brett Hodgson’s men won at a canter.
Hull made light of a four-day turnaround from their defeat at Castleford and the absence of both first-choice half-backs to condemn the Rhinos to a fourth defeat in five Super League matches, three of them at Headingley.
Lovodua, a specialist hooker, was pressed into service in the halves due to the absence of Luke Gale, the former Leeds captain, and Josh Reynolds while Mitieli Vulikijapani, a British Army serviceman, played at centre and there was a first start for another Fijian, Kane Evans.
The game began with a now customary flurry of cards, with props forwards Evans and Matt Prior (Leeds) both sin-binned inside the first 10 minutes for high tackles that would have merited only penalties before the latest crackdown.
Leeds were still a man down when Connor shaped to kick on the last tackle and nipped in between full-back Jack Walker and second rower Rhyse Martin to score the game’s first try and Ben McNamara kicked the first of his five goals from six attempts.
Ten minutes later Connor produced a wonderful cut-out pass to give Swift a clear run to the corner for Hull’s second try and six minutes before the break the full-back dummied his way over for his second.
Trailing 18-0, Leeds thought they have pulled a try back two minutes into the second half when winger David Fusitu’a produced an acrobatic finish in the corner but video referee Ben Thaler ruled he brushed the touchline and Hull made the most of the let-off.
They quickly worked their way upfield and Lovodua’s delayed pass got second rower Savelio charging over for his side’s fourth try that extended the lead to 22-0.
They might have had a fifth but for a superb tackle by acting captain Ash Handley on his opposite number Swift and had to settle for a McNamara penalty after the Rhinos had been caught offside.
Fusitu’a had to go off for a head injury assessment and Hull soon also suffered a blow, with replacement back rower Joe Cator hobbling from the field, before the visitors fashioned a fifth try, Lovodua racing onto Jordan Johnstone’s grubber kick on 64 minutes.
Connor added a drop goal to make it 31-0 but Leeds spared themselves the embarrassment of being nilled when winger Tom Briscoe and centre Liam Sutcliffe both crossed for unconverted tries in the last six minutes.