Leeds Rhinos 36-6 Hull FC
Defending champions Leeds Rhinos gave a sensational second half display as pretenders to the throne Hull FC were blown away at Headingley Carnegie.
After a 6-6 stalemate at half-time, the Rhinos scored five unanswered converted tries to secure an opening night victory with the past masters Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and captain Kevin Sinfield playing key roles.
Sinfield, who overtook fellow Leeds RL legend Lewis Jones in the all-time Rugby League points chart, put Leeds ahead before debutant Joe Arundel levelled.
However, Leeds ensured the two points with tries from Joel Moon, Jamie Peacock, Chris Clarkson, McGuire and Ryan Hall to give Hull a reality check.
But rather than the result, Hull will be more concerned about skipper Gareth Ellis.
Ellis, back in the Super League after four years in Australia with West Tigers, limped off during the warm-up and was ruled out of the game ten minutes before kick-off.
It was a huge blow for Hull, who are hoping to challenge for the Super League crown this year.
If Peter Gentle’s side want to pursue such ambitions they will have to defend much better. Ben Galea’s failure to deal with McGuire’s harmless grubber kick saw Sinfield pounce to score the first try on 15 minutes.
Leeds threatened again, but with the half drawing to a close, a penalty gave Hull territory in Leeds’ half and the Black and Whites took full advantage.
Joe Westerman showed skill and strength before finding Arundel who touched down in the corner.
And it was Hull who started the second half better, but Aaron Heremaia's failed 40-20 was a decisive moment and from there Leeds never looked back in a devastating display in the final 23 minutes.
Debutant Moon, signed from Salford City Reds, recovered from a slip to force himself over the line and put the Rhinos ahead.
Straight from the restart Leeds were at Hull again and Burrow’s majestic weaving unlocked a door in the Hull defence.
He found Sinfield who in turn offloaded to Peacock whose outstretched arm ensured a third Leeds try and leave Hull staring at the barrel of a gun.
That gave Leeds the breathing space, but Brian McDermott’s men continued to press for more tries and Chris Clarkson extended the lead after a fine break after McGuire’s pass.
Super League record try scorer McGuire then scored one himself. The man who recently celebrated ten years at Headlingley bulldozed himself over the line after collecting a Sinfield offload.
And Leeds were not finished. In the closing seconds, Hall, rated as the world’s best winger, raced clear from his own half to score, despite the efforts of Jason Crookes.
Hall’s superb try rounded off a magnificent performance from the Rhinos.
Leeds: Hardaker; Vickery, Watkins, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Bailey, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Ablett
Substitutes: Clarkson, Kirke, McShane, Achurch
Hull: McDonnell; Crookes, Arundel, Yeaman, Briscoe, Holdsworth, Seymour, Pitts, Houghton, Lynch, Ellis, Galea, Westerman
Substitutes: Johnson, O'Meley, Whiting, Heremaia
Referee: Steve Ganson [St Helens]