Hull KR boosted their Super League play-off prospects with a 44-6 win over relegated Leigh to bring the curtain down on an engrossing Dacia Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
That took the crowd aggregate to 60,866, which surpassed the total at Anfield in 2019 and justified Super League’s decision to take the annual two-day event back to Newcastle.
The six teams in action on day two had an impossible act to follow after the high drama of Saturday but Hull KR did their best as they ended a three-match losing run in style to bring their play-off chances back into their own hands.
Tony Smith’s men will now go into next Saturday’s home game against Castleford knowing victory would be enough to help them leapfrog their opponents into sixth place.
Leigh, who wore colourful, eye-catching jerseys as part of a charity fundraiser, began brightly and trailed only 10-6 at half-time but faded badly in the second half and are still looking for a first Magic Weekend victory.
The Robins were camped in the Leigh half for virtually the whole of the first quarter but without finding the finishing touches.
Full-back Will Dagger, making his first appearance of the season, prop Will Maher and hooker Matt Parcell were all held up over the line as Leigh demonstrated tremendous defensive resolve.
In a rare foray into Hull KR territory, Leigh took a surprise lead in the 22nd minute when half-backs Joe Mellor and Ryan Brierley moved the ball wide and Wigan-bound centre Iain Thornley got winger Matty Russell over for the first try.
Brierley added the touchline conversion to make it 6-0 but Rovers’ persistence finally paid off with two tries in five minutes to open up a 10-6 lead.
Winger Ben Crooks fended off the challenge of Russell to score the first while burly forward Albert Vete plunged over for a second and almost grabbed another as the Leigh defenders struggled to contain his mighty presence.
The Centurions’ immense defensive efforts mirrored those of club owner Derek Beaumont and 12 other intrepid cyclists who undertook the 142-mile bike ride from Leigh to Newcastle to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
But the extra tackling stint always looked likely to take its toll and Hull KR duly ran in two tries within the first seven minutes of the second half to grab a hold of the game.
Former England winger Ryan Hall made the running for a try by second rower Brad Takairangi and Parcell’s refusal to be tackled near the line earned him a score.
Joe Keyes, also making his first appearance of the year, added both conversions and Hall helped himself to a 15th try of the season in the 53rd minute after Leigh squandered possession deep inside their own half.
Replacement centre Jimmy Keinhorst and loose forward Matty Storton also cashed in on a tiring defence to score tries and Keyes rounded off the scoring by converting a try of his own to take his goal tally to six from eight attempts.