Warrington Wolves consigned Hull KR to The Qualifiers with a victory that sees them move up to third in the Super League table.
Elliot Wallis’ double had given Rovers the lead in the first half, before Robbie Mulhern and Chris Atkin also got on the scoreboard for the hosts.
But victory saw Warrington move up to third, as Castleford lost at home to Huddersfield Giants to slip to fourth.
Mike Cooper, Stefan Ratchford, Tyrone Roberts, Toby King, Kevin Brown and Declan Patton all crossed for the Wolves.
Prior to the match, The Robins held faint hopes of sneaking into the last Super 8s spot, but needed to beat Warrington and then win the notorious Hull derby away at Hull FC on next Friday as well as hoping that other results went their way.
Rovers came into the match having won their last three matches, a run which saw them cling on against Widnes in a thrilling encounter last week, but injuries to duo Justin Carney (ankle) and Joel Tomkins (knee) left them lacking enough quality to beat an impressive Wire side.
After dominant spells from Warrington either side of the break, KR had hope of pulling off a scintillating comeback when Atkin’s score under the posts was calmly converted by Danny Tickle to make it a two-point game at 20-22.
But the Wolves used their experience and game-management ability to finish the match strongly to claim their 14th win from 22 Super League games so far this year.
Rovers’ momentum has been stopped at just the wrong time, with the short trip to the KCOM Stadium to face Hull FC just a week away, but they will be determined to beat their arch rivals and give their fans the best possible end to the regular league campaign.
As for Warrington, they face the most daunting match of the season, a trip to runaway league leaders St. Helens. But having shown some brilliant attacking play, as well as digging deep when it mattered, this game shows that they could cause on upset at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday night.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Hull KR are better than the table shows
At the start of the season, many people consigned the Robins to the Qualifiers before a ball was thrown, and I suppose they’ve been proven right. They didn’t, however, envisage the East Hull club trying to play attacking, expansive rugby against every opponent. they are mightily unlucky to miss out on the Super 8s and, if it hadn’t of been for their rotten luck with injuries, they may well have made it.
Warrington can trouble Saints
So far this season, only Leeds Rhinos have managed to beat St. Helens in their own backyard, but if anyone else can, Warrington can. Their attacking flair on dogged defensive spirit makes them a formidable opponent for the most formidable team in the land. If they can stay tight at the back and grasp any opportunities that come their way, the Wire can beat Saints next week.
Man Of The Match- Tyrone Roberts (Warrington Wolves)
In my preview, I said that the game would be decided by either Tickle of KR, or Wire’s Roberts. And the Wolves man stepped up. He missed just one of his six goal attempts and rather unsurprisingly got in on the try-scoring act too.
Warrington’s number 7 has had a brilliant campaign so far, as have his colleagues, and when they need someone to put in a match-winning performance, he’s their man.
Hull Kingston Rovers 20
Tries: Wallis (2), Mulhern, Atkin
Goals: Tickle (2)
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington Wolves 34
Tries: Cooper, Ratchford, Roberts, King, Brown, Patton
Goals: Roberts (5)
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull Kingston Rovers: Quinlan, Wallis, Blair, Vaivai, Oakes, McGuire, Atkin, Scruton, Lunt, Mulhern, Tickle, Greenwood, Clarkson.
Replacements: Masoe, Kavanagh, Jewitt, Salter.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, M Brown, King, Charnley, K Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, King.
Replacements: Patton, Philbin, Pomeroy, Akauola
Referee: L. Moore