Hull KR got the win over Halifax, but potentially at a cost. Here’s our verdict…
Hull KR earned their third consecutive victory in the Qualifiers with a 38-24 home win over Halifax.
They got the job done early, taking a 24-0 lead into the break after a dominant first 40 minutes in which Craig Hall got four tries on the right wing.
The first came after seven minutes, as Rovers put on pressure following a penalty and Adam Quinlan’s long pass found Hall to run in.
Within three minutes they were in again, with Quinlan again the architect with a quick break and a show and go that put Hall over for a second time.
Quick passing down the middle tore Halifax apart for their third try, as Atkin put Quinlan through and he kicked back inside for James Greenwood to touch down.
Chris Atkin was the next to break through, and although Will Sharp kept out Justin Carney the ball was then moved to the other wing and Quinlan found Hall, who ducked inside and reached the line for his hat-trick.
Quinlan made it five assists out of five when he launched the ball over the defence again, with Hall gratefully waiting for fourth try.
Halifax ended the half strongly without finding a way through the Rovers defence, but they made a great start to the second period as the ball was moved left and Ben Heaton slipped James Saltonstall into the corner.
Hull KR admitted that they were in the game when Hall opted for the posts with a penalty to make it a four-score lead, but that didn’t last long as Saltonstall got his second after a spectacular break from Sharp.
The hosts made sure of victory with two tries in the space of four minutes, with the first coming on the back of a 40/20 by Todd Carney as Chris Atkin took advantage of a spilled ball.
Shaun Lunt then went over from dummy half, but Halifax kept fighting right to the end with two tries in the final four minutes.
Dan Fleming went over after strong pressure, and then Ben Johnston found a gap in the Robins defence and picked out Sharp in support for another consolation try.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Rovers class comes through
The first half saw some masterful displays of attacking rugby from Hull KR, with some of the tries involving some great combinations that had the Halifax defence in a spin. Quinlan was the standout and Hall grabbed four tries, while Atkin was heavily involved as well.
The disappointment will be the fact that, after those first 30 minutes, the intensity dropped off both in attack and in defence, with a number of errors on the ball as well.
Nevertheless, they did enough to get the job done and are now in a strong position to retain their Super League status.
Early errors cost Halifax
After a battering at home to Salford last week, many would have tipped a similar scoreline here but their battling second half performance earned a respectable result.
It could have been better had the focus been there from the start, with errors, particularly from James Saltonstall in coming out of the line and leaving Hall free, costing them badly.
They showed great spirit in the second half though, and will go into the clash with Widnes next week confident of competing strongly.
Man of the Match – Adam Quinlan (Hull Kingston Rovers)
Quinlan was absolutely superb in the first half, with five try assists smartly taking advantage of every weakness that Halifax displayed.
This win could come at a pretty big cost though, as the full-back had to be helped off in the second half with what coach Tim Sheens said is a suspected ACL injury, which would rule him out for the rest of the season and into 2019.
Hull Kingston Rovers 38
Tries: Hall (4), Greenwood, Atkin, Lunt
Goals: Hall (4), Tickle (1)
Drop Goals: n/a
Tries: Saltonstall (2), Fleming, Sharp
Goals: Grady, Fleming (3)
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull KR: Quinlan; Hall, Salter, Blair, Carney; McGuire, Atkin; Masoe, Lunt, Tickle; Greenwood, Tomkins, Clarkson.
Interchanges: Vaivai, Kavanagh, Jewitt, Carney.
Halifax: Woodburn-Hall; Saltonstall, Heaton, Butler, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Fleming, Kaye, Jones; Tangata, Grady, Fairbank.
Interchanges: Moore, Cooper, Maher, Davies.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths