Catalan Dragons bounced back from their 46-0 whitewash against Salford to beat Hull Kingston Rovers at Craven Park. Here’s our verdict…
Rovers got off to a promising start, enjoying consecutive sets in great field position only for a wayward pass from Craig Hall to drift behind Will Oakes and into touch to relieve the pressure.
The Robins late in the first half through a Craig Hall penalty goal after Kenny Edwards had been caught slowing the play-the-ball down as Rovers built pressure on the visitors’ line again.
Catalans made the Robins pay for that wasting chances when Sam Tomkins levelled the scores with a penalty goal of his own, and then hooked a rather ambitious 50-metre effort well wide into the wind as the hooter went for half-time.
After another tryless first half, it took just three minutes of the second period for the Red and Whites to crack the Dragons’ line, as Chris Atkin’s dummy opened up a gaping hole in the French line and Weller Hauraki strolled over.
Craig Hall converted, and five minutes later the Robins were in again thanks to some outstanding work from Joel Tomkins.
The skipper took Atkin’s pass, dummied and twisted into a gap before offering the ball out in one hand and charging past brother Sam to score.
The Red and Whites’ luck ran out soon after though, as Matt Whitley and Tony Gigot kept the ball alive, switching play to the left where Brayden Williame powered over.
Sam Tomkins missed the conversion, but the Dragons landed a sucker punch in the next set that left Rovers’ reeling.
Samisoni Langi caught the short side defence napping, breaking into the backfield and sending Lucas Albert scampering over for a try improved by Sam Tomkins to draw Catalans level again.
The French side were riding the wave of momentum from those scores, but their efforts to add a third try resulted only in throwing a risky pass to the left that Hall picked off before racing 80 metres to score.
The winger couldn’t convert from the sideline though, and with Mose Masoe and Mitch Garbutt both sidelined with head knocks, the lightweight Robins were stretched beyond breaking point and with five minutes to go, Lewis Tierney touched down a Langi grubber.
Sam Tomkins kept his nerve to land the conversion and inflict an agonising defeat on the valiant Rovers.
It’s Happened Again…
Hull Kingston Rovers have failed to keep hold of their lead at Craven Park, which was similar to their other narrow defeat to Salford Red Devils.
But however the skipper Tomkins and George Lawler – who started as a prop – gave in applaudable performances.
Sam Gets The Bragging Rights
It was the first ever meeting between the Tomkins brothers and Joel was the one that only got the try.
On the other hand, Sam was on kicking duty and it was his last kick in the 75th minute that gave his side the two point advantage which sealed the win.
Once again Chris Atkin started on the bench and hasn’t started since Rovers’ defeat to Warrington in the second round.
However the half-back has made the difference when he came off the bench, the same when Rovers beat Wakefield last weekend.
But head coach Tim Sheens is still favouring the Danny McGuire/Josh Drinkwater partnership, but you get the feeling that changes are going to be made.
First Away Win
After the six rounds the Dragons have bagged their first away win of the season in what has been a tough start to their 2019 campaign.
But there is still a long way to go if they are turn around their poor performances which has landed them near the bottom of the Super League table.
Hull Kingston Rovers + 16
Tries: Hauraki (44), Tomkins (48), Hall (65)
Goals: Hall (2)
Drop Goals: n/a
Catalan Dragons + 18
Tries: Wiliame (57), Albert (60), Tierney (74)
Goals: Tomkins (3)
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull Kingston Rovers: Dagger, Hall, Keinhorst, Vaivai, Oakes, McGuire, Drinkwater, Masoe, Addy, Lawler, Linnett, Tomkins, Hauraki
Interchanges: Shaw, Garbutt, Atkin, Rooks
Catalan Dragons: Tomkins, Yaha, Langi, Wiliame, Tierney, Gigot, Smith, Casty, Albert, Moa, Edwards, Whitley, Bird.
Interchanges: Bosquet, Jullien, Goudemand, Baitieri