Leeds Rhinos brought Hull FC down to earth following their Wembley triumph with a 38-26 victory that clinched a Betfred Super League top-four finish and almost certainly a home semi-final.
Despite a five-day turnaround, the Airlie Birds showed few signs of the traditional Wembley hangover but their valiant effort was not enough to prevent a 12th-successive defeat at Headingley.
The Rhinos booked their place in the top four with a hard earned 38-26 win over Hull FC at Headingley Carnegie pic.twitter.com/7Grzwz4CKM— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) 31 August 2017
Lee Radford's men are now five points behind the second-placed Rhinos with three rounds left but could still set up another trip to Leeds with a chance to earn a place at Old Trafford.
Leeds suffered a blow before kick-off when stand-off Joel Moon injured his groin. His replacement Rob Burrow made his mark after only six minutes by scoring the first try, before additions from Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe, Mitch Garbutt, Adam Cuthbertson and Matt Parcell as Kallum Watkins kicked seven goals.
Steve Michaels, Scott Taylor, Danny Washbrook and Josh Bowden crossed for a try apiece in reply with Marc Sneyd adding the extras.
FULL TIME: A brave effort from Hull FC however they fall to a defeat to Leeds in the Super 8s pic.twitter.com/6zBAPF95G5— Hull FC (@hullfcofficial) 31 August 2017
Leeds coach Brian McDermott said his victorious team were "terrible" while Hull boss Lee Radford was proud of his players despite the loss.
McDermott said: "I'm not pleased at all. I thought it was awful. We were distracted, too easily put off our game. Hull were very disruptive and I don't blame them four days after Wembley but I thought we were terrible, we were pretty soft defensively.
"We had some dopey moments and were achingly slow defensively but we won and we can give ourselves a shake and a dress-down, get ready for a far better performance next week."
Radford said: "I've just given them a big rap. To back up on a Thursday what they did on Saturday in terms of effort took me by surprise a little bit.
"I fully anticipated that we would blow out towards the latter stages and I would have accepted that but they didn't and that's a real credit to the team. It showed that we're not here to fall away this year, we're going to be bang at it."