Jimmy Keinhorst scored a try with just six seconds left to seal a dramatic 18-16 win for Hull KR against Hull FC in what was a fantastic advert for Super League.
Jimmy Keinhorst, Josh Drinkwater, Kane Linnett, Weller Hauraki and Mitch Garbutt played their first competitive game for Hull KR since joining the club earlier in the off-season.
Matty Dawson-Jones made his official debut for Hull FC, while Jordan Thompson made his second bow for the Black and Whites.
Despite a shaky start, Hull FC drew first blood and scored two tries in the opening quarter through Sika Manu and Dawson-Jones.
Momentum switched though and it was Hull KR who led 14-12 at half-time thanks to tries from Joel Tomkins and Mitch Garbutt, as well as three goals from Drinkwater.
It was gripping second half, full of emotion and full of nerves. Bureta Faraimo put the Black and Whites back in front on the hour mark and it looked like the away side were going to claim the bragging rights.
But with just six seconds remaining, debutant Keinhorst produced a marvellous finish in the corner to seal an 18-16 win for Hull KR.
Three talking points
Hull KR bench was the difference
The Black and Whites were on top of the Red and Whites in the first quarter, but KR’s interchanges made a massive difference to the game.
Debutant Garbutt and James Greenwood were dynamite when they entered the field and actually helped swing the momentum of the game.
The forward pair were one of the main reasons why KR were leading at the break. Garbutt is one of the best front-rowers in the competition when fit, so Rovers fans will be hoping the conditioning staff at the club can help keep him injury free in 2019.
While Greenwood is such an underrated forward in the competition. His work ethic is second to none and made a lot of metres in the game. They were game changers.
Hull FC are making progress
Despite the result, Hull FC can take plenty of positives from their performance and it looks as though they will be a much better team than last time around.
Radford’s men looked exciting with the ball in hand in the second half and they didn’t hesitate in throwing the ball ground, but they need to touch up on their execution. It’s important not to forget the Black and Whites were still without playmakers Jake Connor and Albert Kelly, who will add a lot of spark and creativity to their attack when they return. Joe Westerman, Josh Bowden, Chris Green and Fetuli Talanoa were sidelined to, so when they are back FC will look even better. Things are looking up for FC.
Rovers playmakers exceptional
Hull KR’s big signing of the off-season, Josh Drinkwater, won the man of the match award due to his incredible performance with the boot.
Drinkwater is an impressive signing for Tim Sheens’ side and both his long-range and short-range kicking game was spot on. His long kicks got KR out of trouble a few times, while his grubbers made the opposition panic.
And McGuire is the general while Drinkwater is doing the fancy stuff. McGuire provided an experienced sole for Rovers, alongside skipper Joel Tomkins. McGuire guided his side around the park excellently and didn’t stop talking to his team-mates throughout the game.
Line-ups & ratings
Hull KR: Atkin (5); Crooks (6), Keinhorst (7), Vaivai (7), Hall (6); McGuire (8), Drinkwater (9); Masoe (7), Lawler (7), Mulhern (7), Tomkins (8), Linnett (7), Hauraki (6). Subs: Addy (6), Garbutt (8), Greenwood (8), Lee (6).
Tries: Tomkins, Garbutt, Keinhorst Goals: Drinkwater 3/4
Hull FC: Shaul (8); Faraimo (8), Tuimavave (6), Griffin (6), Dawson-Jones (7); Washbrook (6), Sneyd (8); Taylor (7), Houghton (7), Matongo (8), Manu (7), Minichiello (6), Hadley (7). Subs: Litten (5), Thompson (5), Paea (6), Lane (5).
Tries: Manu, Dawson-Jones, Faraimo Goals: Sneyd 2/4
Hull KR were deserved winners and with the squad that Tim Sheens has assembled for this season, expect them to surprise a few of the bigger teams.
What the Rovers struggled with last season was consistency. Some games they were great to watch, and others they didn’t want to know.
However, the derby clash proved that they have hunger and desire embedded in them now. They might not have won that game last season, but they’ve got that ‘never say die’ attitude instilled in them now.
As for Hull FC, things are certainly looking brighter than last year. Lee Radford is a great coach, so I’ve no doubt we will see an improvement from them this season. They’ve need to be much better if they want to be in contention of getting in the top five though.
Elsewhere in Super League
Huddersfield Giants were defeated 34-14 at the John Smith’s Stadium by Salford Red Devils.
The Red Devils were worthy winners after leading 8-2 at the break. Niall Evalds bagged a hat-trick for the Red Devils, while new recruit Ken Sio bagged a brace.
Castleford Tigers beat Challenge Cup holders Catalans Dragons 20-4 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Greg Eden scored twice for the Tigers, with hooker Paul McShane scoring a try and kicking four goals.