Match Report – St. Helens

02
Apr
Category: On The Pitch

Match Report – St. Helens

Hull KR suffered a second straight defeat as they were nilled by reigning Super League champions St Helens.

Rovers produced a spirited performance on a flat night at the Totally Wicked Stadium but Saints won with plenty to spare.

KR reporter James O’Brien delivers the verdict after the 25-0 loss.

Analysis

Easter is traditionally one of the best weekends of the season but it feels a lot different this year.

There is no Hull derby. There are no crowds. There is no second helping for supporters on Monday.

Rugby league has been making the best of a bad situation since returning in August and this weekend is no different.

The round two Easter fixtures have been dedicated to Mose Masoe, a hugely popular figure on both sides of the world.

His two former Super League clubs were pitted together at the Totally Wicked Stadium despite it being a home game for the Robins, another oddity that barely raises an eyebrow these days.

Tony Smith wanted to see more aggression from his team and the early signs were promising.

Unfortunately the Robins lost Korbin Sims to a head injury in the process, which took the wind out of their sails.

St Helens quickly took advantage of the reshuffle, Regan Grace cutting back inside to touch down after narrowly avoiding the touchline.

Alarm bells were ringing when Theo Fages bounced out of a Greg Minikin tackle to put Jack Welsby over with only eight minutes on the clock.

Sims passed his HIA but copped another bellringer shortly after his return and was subsequently ruled out for the match, leaving Rovers without all three new overseas recruits 20 minutes into the second game.

The Robins went on to dominate proceedings but looked clunky in attack and gave a solid St Helens defence few problems.

There was a lift in intensity from Saints after the restart as they twice forced drop-outs.

Rovers held firm and in a nod of respect St Helens went for goal from a penalty for offside, Tommy Makinson making no mistake to put his side 12-0 up.

KR were struggling for field position and it felt like a matter of time before Saints found a way through.

To their credit, the Robins stayed strong on their own line and with no way through, Fages put over a drop goal to make it 13-0.

The pattern of the half continued with Robert Hicks sending a series of decisions up to the video referee.

Hicks took centre stage during that period, pulling Adam Quinlan back in strange fashion when the Australian was in open field before sending George Lawler to the sin bin after a flurry of six agains.

The video referee then cleared a dubious try from former KR hooker Aaron Smith to give Makinson the chance to make it 19-0.

Saints scored a second try with Lawler in the bin when Grace went over for his second and a worrying looking injury for Elliot Minchella late on rounded off a bad night for the Robins.

Key moment

It was only a couple of minutes in but the last thing Rovers needed was to lose their enforcer after going in with only one recognised prop on the bench. Sims’ injury took the sting out of KR’s start and left them light for the rest of the game.

Good day – Shaun Kenny-Dowall

The Rovers captain was making his 300th career appearance and he had a strong game, although he would have dearly loved a win.

Bad day – Korbin Sims

The Australian is the kind of player who loves to lead from the front so to have to leave the field not once but twice due to injury would have hurt him, particularly on a night when he was wearing Masoe’s name on his shirt.

The bigger picture

Rovers take an early break from Super League with the Challenge Cup taking centre stage next week. KR have been paired with Castleford Tigers, meaning there’s no let-up in a tough start to the season for Smith’s side.

Hull KR: Adam Quinlan, Ben Crooks, Greg Minikin, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Mikey Lewis, George King, Jez Litten, Korbin Sims, Kane Linnett, Dean Hadley, George Lawler.

Bench: Matt Parcell, Elliot Minchella, Matty Storton, Muizz Mustapha.

St Helens: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Josh Simm, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joel Thompson, James Bentley, Sione Mata’utia.

Bench: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Aaron Smith, Joe Batchelor.

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