Hull Kingston Rovers secured a 32-16 victory over Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Super League at Emerald Headingley Stadium. Here’s our verdict…
Rovers bombed an early opportunity as Ben Crooks was bundled into touch but it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the tenth minute.
Capitalising off back-to-back penalties, it was former Leeds hooker Matt Parcell who spotted Leeds’ ruck defence all at sea and pounced for the opening score, unconverted by Craig Hall, for 4-0.
Hall missed another penalty attempt but Rovers were to go in again before the first quarter ended. Josh Drinkwater and Adam Quinlan combined to send Kane Linnett powering over on the left edge for 8-0, Hall again unsuccessful with the extras.
The Robins went back-to-back, as Quinlan finished an amazing offloading move for 14-0, with Jimmy Keinhorst and Danny McGuire both heavily involved for the highlight reel four-pointer. Josh Drinkwater took over kicking duties for the time being.
Leeds finally got off the board on 25 minutes, as back-to-back penalties helped the Rhinos up the field and Brad Dwyer dummied his way over, but Liam Sutcliffe missed the conversion, for 14-4.
Sutcliffe then touched down himself on 29 minutes, as Leeds again made the most of three penalties on the bounce. But however he couldn’t convert his own try.
Hall slotted over an early penalty goal to extend Rovers’ lead to 16-8 but Harvey Livett scored his first try in Red and White, benefiting from a McGuire assist. Hall returned to kicking duty at this point.
Linnett then scored his second, with McGuire again providing the grubber kick on a plate for the centre. Hall missed the extras, though, for 26-8. Drinkwater himself then missed a penalty goal on a tough night for the kickers.
Konrad Hurrell was awarded a score for Leeds via the video referee on 63 minutes, as Rhyse Martin missed the extras on offer for 26-12.
Martin himself then touched down nine minutes from time, missing again, for 26-16.
Rovers slotted over a penalty goal four minutes from time via Hall for 28-16 as the clock ran down, but it was the winger who raced away for the try straight from the resulting kick-off.
Crooks collected the short one from Leeds, with Chris Atkin in support and Hall finished in the right corner. Hall missed the extras for 32-16.
Despite there being a good handful of tries for the neutral spectators, the majority of the game was dictated by the officials.
Too many times was there a break in play and controversial decisions were made. Most of those decisions were in favour of Rovers, which made the night for Leeds much more difficult to grasp.
Crucial Away Win
The Red Robins went into this game with the worst away record of the season. Having only won twice (three if counting the Challenge Cup) and conceding 340 points on the road.
The match was by far their best away performance of the season, which not only gave them their third away win but earn those two vital points that separate them from their relegation rivals London.
Against the Script
As discussed in my preview. Leeds won three of their previous five games whereas Rovers won two and the latter came into the match with a heavy 52-10 defeat to Wigan.
I believed Leeds had the home advantage to see through another crucial two points towards their Super League survival. But Rovers played with the energy and determination in order to make sure that didn’t happen
Another Memorable Night
Although Rovers sign many Leeds players, the man that certainly connects the dots between the two sides is Danny McGuire, who made his 400th career appearance.
It was certainly a night to remember for the ex-Leeds stand-off as he returned to his former club’s home ground and made a breathtaking performance for his current side as he is a few weeks away from retirement.
However, McGuire could reflect on the match very highly and so it begs the question: Will Danny McGuire change his mind?
Leeds + 12
Tries: Dwyer (25), Sutcliffe (29), Hurrell (62), Martin (71)
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull KR + 32
Tries: Parcell (8), Linnett (18,51), Quinlan (21), Livett (46), Hall (76)
Goals: Drinkwater (1), Hall (3)
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds: Jack Walker, Tom Briscoe, Harry Newman, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, Rob Lui, Richie Myler, Ava Seumanufagai, Brad Dwyer, Adam Cuthbertson, Liam Sutcliffe, Rhyse Martin, Trent Merrin.
Interchanges: Brett Ferres, Cameron Smith, James Donaldson, Shaun Lunt.
Hull KR: Adam Quinlan, Craig Hall, Jimmy Keinhorst, Kane Linnett, Ben Crooks, Josh Drinkwater, Danny McGuire, Luis Johnson, Matt Parcell, Daniel Murray, Weller Hauraki, Joel Tomkins, George Lawler.
Interchanges: Mose Masoe, Mitch Garbutt, Chris Atkin, Harvey Livett.