Hull KR 44-6 Leigh Centurions
Hull KR breathed new life into their season with a routine 44-6 win over already-relegated Leigh Centurions at St James’ Park. The Robins held a narrow lead at the break but ran away with the game in the second half to claim a vital victory after three straight defeats. Rovers reporter James O’Brien delivers the verdict.
For a little while, KR’s biggest concern was reaching the 18-game threshold for playoff eligibility. Those fears were genuine as the weeks ticked by without a fixture, with as many as seven matches postponed during a hugely frustrating period. Game 18 eventually arrived on Sunday but Rovers’ form meant it barely registered. The Robins went into Magic Weekend having won only two of seven games since returning from their enforced break. That coupled with wins for Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos meant KR’s hopes hung in the balance as they made their way up to Newcastle. But they will go into crunch clashes with the Tigers and Rhinos in the final two rounds with fresh optimism and safe in the knowledge that their fate will be determined on the field.
When the fixtures were announced this match was labelled as a potential relegation decider between the two pre-season favourites to go down. But the Robins were dealing with a different kind of pressure heading into the game after putting themselves firmly in the playoff picture in the first half of the season. Tony Smith’s side were firm favourites to win the final game of Magic Weekend despite their poor form and they made a bright start in Newcastle. Smith brought Joe Keyes and Will Dagger in from the cold after another flat performance at Huddersfield Giants last time out and they appeared determined to make up for lost time as Rovers laid siege to the Leigh line.
Dagger was held up and Matt Parcell went agonisingly close before Matty Storton had a try controversially ruled out by video referee Robert Hicks. It felt like a matter of time for the Robins but Leigh opened the scoring against the run of play in the 23rd minute by exploiting KR’s weakness on the right edge, Matty Russell coasting over in the corner. Rovers old boy Ryan Brierley nailed the touchline conversion to make it 6-0, a remarkable scoreline given KR’s dominance.
To read the full report of the game – click here.
Leigh Centurions 6 (6)
Try: Russell. Goal: Brierley.
Hull KR 44 (10)
Tries: Crooks, Vete, Takairangi, Parcell, Hall, Keinhorst, Storton, Keyes. Goals: Keyes 6.