Match Report – Leigh Centurions

30
May
Category: On The Pitch

Match Report – Leigh Centurions

Hull KR enjoyed an afternoon to remember as they hammered Leigh Centurions 40-16 in the first game back in front of a crowd at Craven Park.

Rovers ran in eight tries in the sunshine to go eight points clear of rock-bottom Leigh.

KR reporter James O’Brien delivers the verdict.

Analysis

The world has changed dramatically in the 441 days since fans last attended a game at Craven Park and they returned to find a very different Hull KR outfit.

Tony Smith’s side struggled after the restart last year but are a different beast in 2021 with some high-quality recruits giving Rovers a more formidable look.

Ryan Hall has hit the ground running on his return to Super League and he claimed his second hat-trick of the year on Sunday afternoon to take his tally to 10.

Brad Takairangi produced his strongest performance so far and he was not alone there, with Dean Hadley and Rowan Milnes among the others to hit their straps.

But it was Jordan Abdull who stood out above the rest with another sublime display to help his team bounce back from last week’s flat outing at Wakefield Trinity in style.

The fans played a full part as they made up for lost time by roaring their side on to a victory that puts clear daylight between the Robins and Leigh, who remain winless.

With the crowd pumped up it was a predictably frenetic start as both defences observed social distancing.

It took Rovers just three minutes to open the scoring, Abdull dancing across the field from right to left before putting Kane Linnett through a huge hole in the Leigh defence.

The second try arrived soon after as Abdull dribbled a kick in behind which was pounced on by Hall after Kane Linnett and Ryan Brierley both missed it.

But for two missed conversions by Abdull it would have been the perfect start.

The opening exchanges suggested it would be one-way traffic but Leigh took their first opportunity when Ben Hellewell outfoxed Adam Quinlan after taking an offload near halfway.

Ben Reynolds converted to make it 8-6 only to make a mess of the kick-off to give Rovers the perfect chance to hit back.

Smith’s team were in no mood to pass up the opportunity, Takairangi showing good footwork before putting Greg Minikin over in the corner with a nice offload.

But Abdull was off target again from the touchline and the Centurions were level when Lewis Tierney skinned Minikin too easily and put former KR man Brierley over.

Jordan Thompson had a try ruled for obstruction and George Lawler failed to touch down Abdull’s neat kick into the in-goal area before Linnett went over to restore KR’s lead.

Abdull was the architect again with a nice delayed pass and then kicked his first conversion to the delight of the home crowd.

That sent Rovers into half-time with an 18-12 advantage, which should have been greater on the balance of play.

Leigh enjoyed a stronger start to the second half but it was KR who got the all-important next try as Abdull sent another clever kick into the in-goal area to give Milnes his first in Super League.

Abdull added a second goal to go with four assists and the Robins had some much-needed breathing space.

Rovers found another gear after Milnes’ try and Leigh struggled to go with them.

The outstanding Takairangi almost created a try for Luis Johnson out of nothing but KR did not have to wait long for their sixth, Hadley going over under the sticks on the back of a Jez Litten dart.

The Robins kept coming and had another when they kept the ball alive and Hadley put Hall over for his second try with a superb long pass.

Hellewell did his best to dampen a party atmosphere on the back of a string of penalties in Leigh’s favour but Hall completed his hat-trick after good work by Milnes to cap off a memorable day.

Key moment

Rovers needed a fast start to ease any early nerves and they scored two quick tries to welcome the fans back in style.

Good day – Shaun Kenny-Dowall

While some of his team-mates produced season-best performances, the skipper continued his fine form as he led from the front from the first whistle to run Abdull close for man of the match.

Bad day – Leigh Centurions

Defensively Leigh were all at sea on their own line in the first half and although they improved slightly, they appear destined for a return to the Championship.

Bigger picture

Rovers have another break due to the Challenge Cup, with a 12-day turnaround before welcoming Salford Red Devils to Craven Park.

Hull KR: Adam Quinlan, Greg Minikin, Brad Takairangi, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Rowan Milnes, George Lawler, Matt Parcell, Will Maher, Luis Johnson, Kane Linnett, Dean Hadley.

Bench: Korbin Sims, Jez Litten, Matty Storton, Jimmy Keinhorst.

Leigh: Ryan Brierley, Lewis Tierney, Junior Sa’u, Iain Thornley, Anthony Gelling, Ben Reynolds, Jamie Ellis, Tyrone McCarthy, Liam Hood, Mark Ioane, Ben Hellewell, Jordan Thompson, James Bell.

Bench: Matty Wildie, Matty Gee, Brendan Elliot, Nathan Peats.

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