Hull Kingston Rovers and London Broncos go head-to-head in the most pivotal Super League game of 2019 to date. A KR win would virtually make them safe, all but relegating London in the process – a win for the Broncos, however, would see the fight taken to the final day.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Hull Kingston Rovers
A stunning 6-24 win against Catalans Dragons has put KR in the pole position in the battle for Super League status.
A brace and six goals from Ryan Shaw, added to by Danny McGuire’s four points, saw the Robins claim an invaluable victory.
London, meanwhile, slumped disappointingly to a 10-36 home defeat to Leeds. A win would have drawn them level on points with their opponents, and this week’s, in the fight to avoid the drop, but Jack Walker’s double saw the Rhinos plant authority on the match and went on to win at ease.
Hull Kingston Rovers
Head Coach Tony Smith, who put pen to paper on a new deal until2022 last week, has recalled Craig Hall, Mitch Garbutt and Matt Parcell to the 19-man squad.
Jez Litten, Owen Harrison and and Mikey Lewis drop out of the team that beat Catalans Dragons last weekened.
Josh Drinkwater, Chris Atkin and James Greenwood will all leave the club at the end of the season.
Hull Kingston Rovers 19-man squad: Hall, Crooks, Keinhorst, Shaw, McGuire, Mulhern, Masoe, Tomkins, Hauraki, Garbutt, Atkin, Addy, Linnett, Drinkwater, Dagger, Murray, Parcell, Hadley, Trout.
Mark Ioane drops out of the squad and Daniel Hindmarsh returns to the 19 after missing out against Leeds Rhinos.
Ben Hellewell, Matt Davies and Sam Davis will all be out on dual-reg this weekend too.
London Broncos 19-man squad: Abdull, Armitage, Battye, Butler, Cunningham, Dixon, Fozard, Gee, Hindmarsh, Kear, Krasniqi, Lamb, Lovell, Mason, Morgan, Pitts, Walker, Williams, Yates.
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the third time Rovers and Broncos have met this season – and the two previous encounters were both won by the home side.
Rovers won 22-12 at KCOM Craven Park thanks to two tries from Mitch Garbutt back in February. Kane Linnett and Craig Hall also crossed for the East Hull side, with Matty Gee and Jay Pitts scoring for the Broncos.
But London took revenge with a 26-24 victory at the Trailfinders in June, which briefly lifted them off the foot of the table courtesy of a four-score performance and five brilliant kicks from ex-Rover Kieran Dixon.
Ryan Shaw (Hull Kingston Rovers) v Kieran Dixon (London Broncos)
Despite only scoring four tries all season, Shaw doubled his tally in the win in France last time out. More known for his kicking abilities, the Englishman – who can play on the wing, fullback or as a centre – will play a crucial part whatever the outcome.
And so will Dixon. He scored and kicked in the disappointing 10-36 defeat to Leeds last week and was the only player who put in a creditable performance, so will have to do so again. What a story it would be if he scored the points to beat his old employers to keep his current ones’ survival hopes alive.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 6th September 2019
Venue: KCOM Craven Park
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: James Child
WHO WILL WIN?
Normally, predictions are carefully calculated, but this match is different. All form goes out the window in such vital encounters, with adrenaline the only thing coursing through the players’ veins. KR have seemed to control this better in important moments this season, and I think they will do again. Robins win: 24-14.