Ninth placed Leeds Rhinos looked to make it to three consecutive victories as they welcomed eleventh placed Hull KR to Headingley with the visitors looking for the crucial victory which would lift them level on points with the Rhinos and two points above the London Broncos in the relegation spot.
Hull KR were victorious when the two sides met in early April by a 45-26 scoreline, but the Rhinos took the spoils three weeks later when they won 28-24 after being 28-0 ahead with just thirty minutes remaining.
Sean Lunt would make his second debut for the Rhinos after returning on loan from tonight’s opponents, while Brett Ferres and new signing Rhyse Martin swapped places. It was a Hull KR side packed with, and coached by, ex-Rhinos including; Matt Parcell, Danny McGuire, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, and Weller Hauraki.
After good early pressure from Hull KR it looked like Ben Crooks would slide over in the corner after four minutes, but a great cover tackle from Leeds ensured he had a foot in touch before grounding.
On seven minutes Matt Parcell, against his former employers, stretched for the line and scored the openign try of the game as he scooted from dummy half through a disoriented Rhinos defensive line. Craig Hall missed the conversion attempt but the Rhinos had paid the price for back to back penalties.
Kane Linnett doubled the Robins lead on seventeen as he bust through two tackles to go in from ten metres. Craig Hall was again unable to add the extras, three misses from three attempts.
Some delightful interplay, Danny McGuire at the heart and tormenting his former club, put Adam Quinlin over for the third Hull KR try as he went over in the corner.Josh Drinkwater took over the kicking duties and sailed his kick between the sticks.
On their first real attack of the game, thanks to two penalties in their favour, the Rhinos opened their account on twenty-four when Brad Dwyer threw a one-two with Liam Sutcliffe, taking the return pass to skirt around the defence to score. Sutcliffe couldn’t add the conversion, Leeds 4-14 behind.
On twenty-eight Sutcliffe was able to spin out of a KR tackle and drop to the ground off a Richie Myler pass. Sutcliffe again missed the conversion, Leeds still trailing by six points at the interval.
A Craig Hall penalty was the first scoring action of the second half as he slotted over the two pointer from twenty metres out. Two minutes later Harvey Livett stunned the home support when he took a Danny McGuire inside pass, stepped off his right foot and went over next to the uprights. Hall added the conversion for 22-8, Hull KR well worth their lead.
On fifty a deft McGuire grubber was grounded by Linnett for his second of the night as the Rhinos were overrun, last weeks defence against the Tigers now a thing of distant memory. Hall was unable to convert, KR now 26-8 ahead.
After Myler tackled a KR player without the ball Hall had a kick at the sticks but the ball went wide, the fifth goal miss of the night.
Just after the hour Konrad Hurrell scored the Rhinos third try of the night in the left corner, sliding to ground off a Dwyer pass. Rhyse Martin pushed his kick across the front of the sticks, Leeds trailing by 12-26.
Rhyse Martin scored his first try for the Rhinos on seventy after Adam Cuthbertson had stolen the ball from McGuire. Robert Lui created the space for Martin to score but the new Rhinos man was unable to add the conversion, the ninth missed kick of the night from both sides.
A Shaun Lunt hand in the play the ball on his own line gifted KR another penalty and this time Hall managed to find the target for a 28-16 lead.
KR returned the kick and went half way down the field with Craig Hall being on hand to take the last pass from Ben Crooks and cross, the Leeds defence unable to get close enough to tackle. Hall again missed the goal but it was the icing on a superb Rovers 32-16 win.
The dogfight at the bottom of Super League was again ignited by brilliant Hill KR performance under the new coaching stewardship of Tony Smith as they dominated a resurgent Leeds Rhinos and dragged them back into the relegation mire while doing themselves a lot of favours and establishing a two point gap to the London Broncos in bottom spot. Leeds will be going back to the drawing board knowing that that they will need to perform much better of they are to escape the perils at the foot of the table as they drop below the Huddersfield Giants on points difference.
Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Newman, Hurrell (T), Handley, Lui, Myler, Cuthbertson, Dwyer (T), Seumanufagai, Sutcliffe (T), Martin (T), Merrin. Subs: Smith, Donaldson, Ferres, Lunt.
KR: Quinlan (T), Hall (T, 3G), Keinhorst, Linnett (2T), Crooks, McGuire, Drinkwater (G), Johnson, Parcell (T), Murray, Hauraki, Tomkins, Lawler. Subs: Garbutt, Masoe, Atkin, Livett (T).
Referee: Rob Hicks.