Warrington Wolves 0-19 Hull KR
Hull KR are 80 minutes away from a first Grand Final after producing arguably their greatest performance of the Super League era to claim a stunning 19-0 win over Warrington Wolves. The Robins were heavily depleted against a Wire team virtually at full strength but they defied all logic to nil the star-studded hosts and set up a showdown with Catalans Dragons next week. Rovers reporter James O’Brien delivers the verdict from the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Tony Smith’s side arrived in Warrington free from the burden of expectation after punching above their weight all season on their way to a best Super League finish since 2009. A first play-off appearance in eight years was enough for the vast majority of Hull KR supporters, many of whom have had their faith restored in 2021.
It was even viewed as a free hit by some in light of the club’s injury crisis, which robbed Smith of nine of arguably his strongest 17. The only fear was suffering a defeat that failed to do a momentous season justice. But the Robins were taking on a Warrington outfit weighed down by a history of play-off failures.
The Wolves had lost eliminators on home soil in the previous two seasons and they played like a team with the weight of the world on their shoulders. By contrast, Rovers were full of energy and, most importantly, belief as they secured a barely believable victory. Jordan Abdull, Mikey Lewis and Jimmy Keinhorst scored the tries but it was a truly heroic effort from every player in red and white.
The travelling fans more than played their part, driving the players on from the first whistle to the final hooter. By full-time, they were mapping out their route to Perpignan after witnessing a victory every bit as epic as the 2015 Challenge Cup semi-final win over the same opponents in 2015.
There was mixed news when the teams were announced with the loss of George Lawler and Korbin Sims offset by the inclusion of Albert Vete and Will Maher.
It was a nervy start by the Robins, Keinhorst guilty of two errors inside the opening couple of minutes. Warrington dominated the opening exchanges but they were met by resolute defence as Rovers repelled everything the hosts threw at them.
KR took the lead completely against the run of play after shrugging off the loss of Brad Takairangi to a HIA, Abdull dummying his way over on the last tackle to send the away end wild. The half-back added the extras to make it 6-0 after 17 minutes, a lead they defended as if their lives depended on it. Shaun Kenny-Dowall produced a sensational tackle to deny Jake Mamo but Rovers were up against it when Vete saw yellow for the softest of late hits.
The only criticism of the Robins in the first half was that they turned over too much ball coming away from their own end. Thankfully, the Wire were just as sloppy in possession to the ire of an increasingly frustrated home crowd. Warrington had one more threatening attack of the half after Abdull missed a drop-goal attempt but once again Rovers were equal to it, with Muizz Mustapha and Will Dagger pulling off a brilliant tackle to haul down a dangerous George Williams.
Full report – click here
Warrington Wolves 0 (0)
Hull KR 19 (6)
Tries: Abdull, Lewis, Keinhorst. Goals: Abdull 3. Drop-goal: Abdull.