Wooden spoonists to semi-finalists: Hull KR

Drew Darbyshire
Jordan Abdull

Hull KR boss Tony Smith said it was “enormous for our club” after his side stunned hot favourites Warrington 19-0 in the Super League play-offs last Friday night.

The victory sees the Robins travel to Perpignan this week to face League Leaders’ Shield winners Catalans Dragons in their own back yard.

Hull KR have gone from picking up the wooden spoon in Super League to reaching the semi-finals in the space of 12 months. Exceptional, stunning, magnificent – there aren’t enough superlatives to describe it.

MATCH REPORT: Warrington 0-19 Hull KR

“It’s enormous for our club,” said Smith after Friday’s emphatic win. “Probably not many people gave us much of a chance.

“I’m really pleased for the owner, it’s been a long time between drinks. I like the attitude of my guys, they pulled together for each other.”

A classy touch from Hull KR coach Tony Smith as he consoles Gareth Widdop after the full-time hooter

Hull KR running the show

It was as good a performance you will ever see from a half-back pairing, too. Man of Steel nominee Jordan Abdull was Hull KR’s hero again with a masterful display, whilst Mikey Lewis showed just how bright his future is with a superb solo try.

Abdull kicked Warrington off the park on Friday and his game management was second to none. He was so silky he could have played in a dinner jacket.

“He ran the show,” said Smith. “This has been coming for him. He’s had some really strong performances over the years but they’re coming regularly for him.

“That’s what Man of Steel is about, doing it consistently. Jordan’s getting more confidence about him and more wisdom as he matures.”

Lewis is a maverick half-back who reminds me a little bit of Sean Long with the way he plays.

The 20-year-old has already made more than 20 appearances for Hull KR since making his first team debut in 2019. He could be the Robins’ starting scrum-half for the next decade.

Lewis is an old school half-back who plays the game as he sees it. Some playmakers are too structured in the way they play these days but not Lewis, he’s a gem. His chip and chase try against Warrington was a timely reminder of why we love rugby league.

Mikey Lewis got on the scoresheet for Hull KR

Hull KR, in the absence of nine senior players, produced one of the biggest upsets in Super League play-off history last week, and now they find themselves within 80 minutes of the Grand Final at Old Trafford. What a story.

Tony Smith will, quite rightly, get the headlines for Hull KR’s remarkable turnaround, but a hat tip must go to club owner Neil Hudgell, who has put a helluva lot of money into the club over the years.

The Robins are daring to dream. If Carlsberg did stories…