A comfortable 30-12 win for Hull KR saw them open their Super League XV season with two points in front of their own fans. Salford City Reds were the visitors and while offering some resistance were over-powered by Justin Morgan’s troops.
The anticipation ahead of the new season at Craven Park reached fever pitch long before the teams ran out. X-Factor’s Olly Murs was the pre-match entertaiment and after early chants of ‘Who are ya?’ from the crowd he, along with a little help from Rufus, got the crowd bouncing on a cold Sunday afternoon on the east coast.
In his programme notes Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell welcomed back the Robins faithful by offering high expectations of the season ahead. A first top four finish last season has raised the bar for KR and making an impression in the play-offs is the new target.
And the pride of East Hull signalled their intent as they warmed up the crowd by racing in to an early lead. Without Ben Galea it was his replacement Paul Cooke who kicked through, Peter Fox won a scrum and from the resulting set Michael Dobson found Cooke who set Fox free to score in the corner. Dobson added the two after just three minutes.
And it didn’t take much longer for KR to double their lead, from a clever play Dobson passed out right to the explosive Fox who evaded one tackle to again score in the corner. Dobson kicked home the conversion and inside seven minutes the Robins were 12-0 to the good.
Salford threatened for the first time on ten minutes but Stefan Ratchford couldn’t reach a grubber kick through and KR began to control proceedings. But against the run of play it was Salford who got back in the game. A nicely worked play from the City Reds saw the ball get worked outside and then back inside for scrum-half Matty Smith to get into the in-goal and go down under the sticks.
Salford grew in confidence and almost levelled the scores when another set culminated in a cross-field kick from the right which saw Jodie Broughton go over in the corner but only after Ste Tyrer had knocked on as he jumped for the ball with the KR defence. The left side partnership linked up to be nearly men again on 33 minutes as a kick wide from Ratchford was palmed back to Tyrer by Broughton but again his grubber asked too much of the young winger.
But with half time approaching KR re-opened a 12-point lead. After winning a penalty for a flop the Robins got the ball within Salford’s 10-yard line and on the last tackle Dobson took the ball to the line, Jake Webster found a gap and the short ball from Dobson gave the stand-off a simple try. Dobson kicked the extras and the sides went in 18-6 at the hooter.
The second half had a slow start and it wasn’t until the 47th minute that there was any goal line action. And inevitably it was Dobson who made the chance but Liam Watts was halted just before the line. The Australian was tormenting the City Reds defence and as he opened some space it was Jason Netherton‘s turn to be stopped on the line.
It looked like only a matter of time before the Robins extended their lead but they missed chance after chance to get over the Salford line. They weren’t to be denied and it was just as the team from Greater Manchester seemed to be pressing KR back they broke away. A kick on the fifth tackle was deflecting up in the air and as Jake Webster broke away he picked out the supporting Dobson who went over and then kicked the extras.
It was getting all too easy for Hull Kingston Rovers and they went over again in the 62nd minute when a Dobson short ball found Clint Newton to go over. Dobson kept hold of his perfect kicking game to make the score 30-6 to KR and leaving Salford looking for damage limitation.
That said, a breakaway try gave the City Reds something to cheer. A sloppy pass from Dobson was taken by Ste Tyrer and he gave the ball to Jodie Broughton in support and the speedy winger out-paced the chasing pack to go over. Stefan Ratchford kicked the extras to make it 30-12.
Salford almost made a game of it straight after but winger Dean McGilvray was unable to ground an unconventional kick through by Daniel Holdsworth. A few scrabbles in the Salford goal followed but no more was added to the score and Hull KR will be pleased with their start to the season. Salford have work to do.
“There are no easy games in Super League” – those were the programme notes from Justin Morgan but his side were a class above their counter-parts and the red, red Robins go bob-bob-bobbing along.