Hull KR 27-18 Wigan: Five takeaways as Willie Peters’ Robins win opening match

Josh McAllister
Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Hull KR. News Images

Hull KR begin their new era under head coach Willie Peters with an impressive 27-18 home victory over Wigan. Here are our five takeaways from the Super League fixture…

Willie Peters off to a winning start

New boss Peters enjoys a winning start to his Hull KR and Super League coaching career.

Captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored his first Hull KR hat-trick, having finished the game on the wing in replacement of the injured Ryan Hall, who opened the scoring inside three minutes.

Back-rower Kane Linnett also crossing on an impressive display all around for the Robins. Peters will be a happy coach after that one.

More pre-match entertainment

Following Warrington’s and Leigh’s efforts on Thursday and Friday respectively, Hull KR continued the entertainment with a pre-match performance from indie rock band The K’s.

The Earlestown-based band performed a three-song set live on the pitch, leading to the teams’ arrivals on the field.

Hull KR’s Craven Streat was also open early doors for the pre-party.

The Super League side also had The Reytons perform at last year’s Good Friday derby. 

Wigan’s disciplinary

Wigan fans won’t be too pleased with their side’s disciplinary in that 80 minutes. Morgan Smithies found himself in the sin-bin for a late shoulder charge on Mikey Lewis, allowing Coote two easy points off the tee in the second half.

Matt Peet’s side also gave away a penalty with the ball – Brad Singleton’s push at the play-the-ball in the first 40.

Plenty to work on for the Warriors. 

Impressive Robins

Several Hull KR players stood up and impressed for their opening game of 2023, playing a big part in the victory. Many players deserve a shout out including Elliot Minchella, Lachlan Coote, George King and James Batchelor.

Mikey Lewis returned to Super League action with, as expected, a feisty attitude.

The Hull KR half-back had his season cut short last year due to concussion protocols. He made 18 appearances last season, and underwent ankle surgery in the off-season.

A confident playmaker, Lewis sparked a coming together, getting into Bevan French’s ear after throwing the winger into touch.

For his troubles, he also received a bust nose in the first half.

On the flip side, new signing Rhys Kennedy was assisted from the field with a head knock. Winger Ryan Hall also did not return for the second 40 due to a rib injury.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Hull KR. News Images
Shaun Kenny-Dowall completes his first-ever Hull KR hat-trick. Photo by James Heaton/News Images.

Channel 4’s coverage

It’s great to have Channel 4 covering the sport for another year, having enjoyed their inaugural season in 2022. Adam Hills once again fronts the free-to-air channel’s coverage, with 10 games set to be broadcast live again in 2023.

St Helens’ World Club Challenge victory was first up on Saturday morning before Hull KR’s clash with Wigan.

Refreshing, energetic, entertaining. Credit to Channel 4 once again.

How it happened

  • 3’ Ryan Hall scores in the corner early on. Shaun Kenny-Dowall collects a kick, and the ball finds its way out wide to the England international winger. Lachlan Coote converts. (6-0)
  • 9’ Liam Marshall hits back for Wigan just six minutes later. The winger collecting a kick from Harry Smith to score untouched. (6-4)
  • 14’ Three tries from three kicks as Jai Field gives Wigan their first lead with a four-pointer. The electric full-back receiving an assist from Toby King to finish in the corner. Smith misses. (6-8)
  • 22’ Repeat sets eventually tells as Wigan extend their lead through Kai Pearce-Paul. The England international back-rower grounding a grubber kick from Cade Cust. Smith missing his third. (612)
  • 28’ Kenny-Dowall scores his first Super League try since last April, beating his opposite number in King to score. Coote converts. (12-12)
  • 40′ Jordan Abdull drops a field goal to give his side a one-point lead at the break. (13-12)
  • HT: Hull KR 13-12 Wigan
  • 46’ Kane Linnett extends the lead for the hosts. The Scotland international crashing over short range thanks to a short pass from Coote. Conversion missed. (17-12)
  • 54′ Coote adds two as Wigan are penalised for offside. (19-12)
  • 57′ Morgan Smithies sent to the bin for a shoulder charge on Mikey Lewis. (19-12)
  • 62’ Hull KR make Wigan pay with their man advantage as Kenny-Dowall uses his footwork to score his second. Lewis with the conversion but he’s just short. (23-12)
  • 68’ Wigan back to 13 and they score a length of the field try. Marshall with the break, feeding his centre in Jake Wardle in support to score. Smith converts. (23-18)
  • 74’ Captain Kenny-Dowall scores his hat-trick and secures an opening victory for Hull KR. Lewis misses the extras. (27-18)
  • FT: Hull KR 27-18 Wigan

How they lined-up

Hull KR: Coote, Ryan, Opacic, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Lewis, Abdull, Sue, Parcell, Kennedy, Batchelor, Linnett, Minchella. Bench: Litten, King, Storton, Hadley.

Tries: Hall, Linnett, Kenny-Dowall (3) Goals: Coote 3/4. Lewis 0/2 DB: Abdull 1

Wigan: Field, French, King, Wardle, Marshall, Cust, Smith, Havard, Powell, Cooper, Pearce-Paul, Farrell, Smithies. Bench: Singleton, Byrne, Ellis, O’Neill. 

Tries: Marshall, Field, Pearce-Paul, Wardle. Goals: Smith 1/4. Sin-bin: Smithies

What they said

Hat-trick hero Kenny-Dowall said on Channel 4 following the game: “Wigan are a quality opposition, so to come away with the win in round one will be great for the confidence.

“We’re confident in the team we’ve got and the work we’ve done in pre-season. Hopefully we can build on that.”

On his hat-trick, he continued: “I didn’t have to do too much! I think Ryan Hall will be disappointed he wasn’t out there to collect the tries. But I’m very happy with a hat-trick on the first round.”

Wigan boss Matt Peet told Mark Wilson: “I thought we were second best. We didn’t run hard enough and didn’t tackle well. Hull KR were deserved winners. I thought we showed glimpses with the ball but I think we tried to play our hand a little too early at times.

“We didn’t defend like we needed to. We missed too many tackles, basically.”

On Morgan Smithies’ sin-bin, he added: “Morgan needs to be better there. He knows with the way it is now, he needs to wrap his arms and make an attempt to tackle. I always thought he’d always get a yellow there.”

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