Seventh took on ninth in the first of a double header at Craven Park as Hull KR welcomed the Catalans Dragons to a sunny but blustery East Yorkshire.
The Dragons were still smarting from their nilling at the hands of the Salford Red Devils last Saturday while KR were on a high after their close away win at Wakefield in their round five fixture.
A win for the Rover would see them into the top five but Tim Sheens was without five first choice front rowers. A win by more than an eighteen point margin would see Steve McNamara’s Dragons above KR into seventh spot, but they too had injury issues naming Lucas Albert at hooker for the first time in his career. A good crowd had gathered hoping for a big home win.
It was a scrappy opening ten minutes with both sides making numerous errors while in possession, and conceeding niggly penalties. On twenty-one KR elected to kick a penalty from fifteen metres out after another Dragons indiscretion and it was the boot of Josh Drinkwater who edged them into a 2-0 lead.
On twenty-three Greg Bird, on his first game back, and Sam Moa both went down heavily in the tackle and were helped from the field for a head assessments, both of which were failed.
When KR interfered at the play the ball, Sam Tomkins kicked the two pointer from in front of the uprights to level the scores at 2-2. On the half time hooter, the Dragons opted to try and kick a penalty goal from half-way but Tomkins was well wide of the target.
It was an awful first half between two indisciplined sides who, despite reasonable weather conditions, were unable to keep hold of the football.
The first try came three minutes after the restart thanks to a big hole in the Dragons defence which allowed Weller Hauraki to take a delayed pass and score from five metres out. Drinkwater added the extras for 8-2.
Five minutes later Joel Tomkins scored a brilliant and determined solo try as he fended off attempted tackles to go thirty metres to ground one handed. Drinkwater was unable to kick the conversion, his side ahead by 12-2.
Benjamin Jullien charged down and Hull KR kick on fifty-one, collected the ball and pulled out of a tackle to score but the referee ruled that he’s been tackled and disallowed the try.
Brayden Wiliame grabbed the Dragons first four-pointer of the afternoon on fifty-seven taking a long Matty Smith miss-out pass and spinning out of Danny McGuire’s tackle to ground. Tomkins was unable to add the extras from wide, the Dragons now six adrift.
Returning the kick-off, Albert went over for the Dragons second to silence the home crowd when he supported a Samisoni Langi break and took and inside pass to cross close to the sticks. Tomkins added the conversion and the sides were again locked together.
A Craig Hall intercpt saw the Robins winger go ninety metres downfield and despite being caught on the line by the Dragons tacklers he managed to get the ball down to put the home side back into the lead. Drinkwater was unable to add the extras, setting up a tense last fisteen minutes.
Six minutes from time, and with the KR defence resembling the Alamo, a laast tackle Langi grubber saw a foot race which was won by Lewis Tierney to ground to level the scores at 16-16. Tomkins kicked brilliantly from wide to edge his side ahead.
The second half sprung to life and was a nip and tuck kencounter between two sides who had found some skill and go-forward in their half time oranges. It was a great fightback from a Dragons side who were smashed and broken a short week ago as they broke KR dreams to move up to eighth position in the league.
KR: Dagger, Hall (T), Keinhorst, Vaivai, Oakes, McGuire, Drinkwater (2G), Masoe, Addy, Lawler, Linnett, Tomkins (T), Hauraki (T). Subs: Shaw, Garbutt, Atkin, Rooks.
Dragons: Tomkins (3G), Yaha, Langi, Wiliame (T), Tierney (T), Gigot, Smith, Casty, Albert (T), Moa, Edwards, Whitley, Bird. Subs: Jullien, Bousquet, Goudemand, Baitieri.
Referee: James Child.