Rovers survive second-half scare to pick up 2 points on the road

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Hull Kingston Rovers got back back to winning ways on Friday night with a 26-16 victory over Salford Red Devils. A brace from Mikey Lewis and tries from Elliot Minchella and Matty Storton saw the Robins pick up their second win of the 2022 campaign.

Tony Smith made three changes to the side who were humbled against the champions the previous week, with Jimmy Keinhorst, Tom Garratt and Kane Linnett replacing the overseas trio of Lachlan Coote, Korbin Sims and Brad Takairangi. The Red Devils named five former KR players in their 17, including prolific try scorer Ken Sio.

Rovers started on the front foot and dominated the ball in the opening stages of the game, two quick penalties for KR due to the darting runs of Matt Parcell gave the Robins a set five meters away from the Salford line, but the constant pressure from Rovers came to nothing after Minchella knocked-on over the line. Garratt and George King were setting the platform in the opening quarter for Tony Smiths men.

The visitors opened the scoring on 15 minutes after some solid defence gave KR the ball in the Salford half, a clever little dab through from Abdull forced an error in goal from Ryan Brierley with Minchella pouncing on the loose ball.

Storton was next on the scoresheet as the former Bradford man crashed over from short range from a Lewis pass. Strong runs from Parcell and Vete prior to the try left Salford short in defence with Storton picking the gap and doubling the Rovers’ lead.

Persistent set restarts led to former Hull KR player Ryan Lannon going for 10 in the bin and Rovers made their numerical advantage count. A moment of magic came from Lewis who replicated his famous chip and chase four pointer from last season’s play-off victory over Warrington. The livewire took his chance and beat Brierley to score on the hooter giving the blue and yellow’s of Hull KR a three try lead at the break with Rovers producing their best 40 minutes of the season so far.

Whatever Paul Rowley said to his team at the interval seemed to work as a fired up Salford side forced a error early in the second half from Will Dagger leading to a set scrum play finished off by Sio for his seventh try in five games as Matt Parcell left the field of play after picking up a knock, as the swing of momentum started to change.

Rovers struggled to carry on their dominance from the first half and some powerful carries from Gerrard and Tim Lafai on the 55 minute mark set up Marc Sneyd who stayed calm under pressure to grubber through to former North Queensland Cowboy second-row Shane Wright who scored in front of the travelling Rovers fans. Sneyd missed the conversion leaving the Red Devils two tries behind.

Salford grew in confidence as the second half progressed, but an error by Sneyd from the kick restart gave Rovers a perfect opportunity to put the game to bed.

However, in what appeared to be a game-changing moment at the time as Rovers tried their hand at the Salford line, Abdull fed a short ball towards Frankie Halton which was intercepted by the Salford number seven as Sneyd made up for his error in the previous set as he raced away with the ball.

A valiant effort by Ryan Hall was not enough as Sneyd set up former Wigan and Sydney man Joe Burgess out wide. 18-16 with 18 to go, as the game looked like it could be slipping away from Rovers.

As the atmosphere in the AJ Bell intensified, Abdull and Lewis took the game by the scruff of it’s neck and some steady completed sets finished by a drill into touch slowed the game down and took the sting out of the Salford attack.

The game was won on 68 minutes after a huge bomb that sat in the Greater Manchester sky from Abdull was collected by Halton who did ever so well to feed Lewis, who benefited from Halton’s offload after the in-form back-rower beat Brierley to the kick.

Lewis went over for his second of the night with his trademark celebration capping off another fantastic individual performance from the 20-year-old. 

A penalty on the hooter for the Robins was converted by Abdull who put the icing on the cake for Rovers who picked up their second victory of the season after a second half scare.

 

Star Man

As good as Mikey Lewis was, Tom Garratt was brilliant in his first Super League start. The front row of Garratt, Parcell and King dominated from the get go and won every battle against the opposite pack in the first half as they were rewarded with a 18 point lead at the break and the former Dewsbury man will be looking to kick on and cement a place in Smith’s 17.

Verdict 

The win was all that mattered on a cold, windy night but Rovers must be more creative in attack. The Robins are still finding it tough with their set plays and against better opposition will need to get their 2021 flair back to climb up the table in 2022 as Rovers sit seventh with two wins from five games.

Up Next

A repeat of last seasons Semi-Final is up next for Rovers as they head to Perpignan next Saturday to take on Catalan Dragons.

Salford: Ryan Brierley, Ken Sio, Deon Cross, Tim Lafai, Joe Burgess, Brodie Croft, Marc Sneyd, Sitaleki Akauola, Andy Ackers, King Vuniyayawa, Shane Wright, James Greenwood, Danny Addy.

Bench: Elijah Taylor, Ryan Lannon, Jack Ormondroyd, Alex Gerrard.

Hull KR: Will Dagger, Sam Wood, Jimmy Keinhorst, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Mikey Lewis, Tom Garratt, Matt Parcell, George King, Frankie Halton, Kane Linnett, Elliot Minchella.

Bench: Jez Litten, Dean Hadley, Matty Storton, Albert Vete.

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