Hull KR 18-25 Wakefield Trinity
Hull KR have dropped out of the play-off positions after suffering a damaging 25-18 defeat to Wakefield Trinity. Rovers were 10-0 up after half an hour but let the game slip either side of the break in a worrying collapse. KR reporter James O’Brien delivers the verdict from Craven Park.
Rovers were not quite in must-win territory heading into the game but there is little room for error during the run-in with five teams fighting for three playoff spots. Tony Smith’s side were coming off the back of an agonising defeat at the hands of fierce rivals Hull FC, the kind of result that can derail a playoff bid. It was vital the Robins bounced back from that setback at the first opportunity but instead they produced a tired and flat performance as they lost their grip on a top-six spot. Whereas Rovers had the look of a side weighed down by the pressure of a playoff battle, Wakefield were free of such anxiety and shrugged off an early deficit to run the hosts ragged for long periods. KR showed good character to take the game to the death but they will need more than spirit to secure a play-off place against teams that have been there and done it.
The Robins were left battered and bruised after the derby, losing Korbin Sims, Matty Storton and Rowan Milnes from the team that went down at the MKM Stadium. Rovers were without eight first-team players in all but Smith was still able to name a strong-looking side and saw his team take control of the contest after a bright start.
The Robins had joy with late offloads in the opening exchanges, getting their reward in the sixth minute when Luis Johnson powered his way over for his first Super League try. Trinity fired a few warning shots of their own as they worked their way into the game with Jacob Miller looking lively on the left edge. But KR held firm and should have extended their lead after creating an overlap on the right wing, only for Jimmy Keinhorst to spill the ball with the try line begging.
Rovers ensured that missed opportunity was not too costly as they hammered away at the Wakefield line and eventually found a way through. On the back of a series of six agains and penalties, Brad Takairangi got away an offload close to the line and George Lawler coasted through a big hole in the Trinity defence.
Ben Crooks was wide from the tee but the Robins had a 10-0 lead after 26 minutes and Wakefield were on the ropes. But it was not a vintage performance from KR by any means and they let their grip slip in the final 10 minutes of the half.
To read the full report of the game – click here.
Hull KR 18 (10)
Tries: Johnson, Lawler, Crooks. Goals: Crooks 3.
Wakefield Trinity 25 (12)
Tries: Miller, Hampshire, Senior, Pitts. Goals: Lino 4. Drop-goal: Miller.