Robins hold on to end Saints’ unbeaten run

Hull Kingston Rovers won a thriller tonight at the KC Lightstream Stadium, defeating St Helens 24-22, with Travis Burns unable to convert a late try to Jordan Turner that would have enabled the league leaders to share the spoils.

The highlight of the game was a brace of tries for Hull KR halfback Albert Kelly in the first half, both of which saw him racing 80 metres to touch down.

The first came when he took a grubber kick by Jon Wilkin, and the second when he intercepted a pass by Burns.

Saints had taken an early lead after three minutes when Wilkin scored a try after a grubber kick hit a Robins player and rebounded into his arms, with Burns adding the conversion.

Saints looked to be on top early on, but Kelly’s tries turned the game on its head, and although Saints equalised at 12-all when Tommy Makinson showed great footwork to touch down in the corner after 27 minutes, with Burns converting, Saints suffered a blow after 34 minutes when James Roby suffered a head knock when tackling Rovers’ fullback Kieran Dixon, and he was led off the field suffering from concussion, not to return.

Soon afterwards Rovers scored their third try, when Ken Sio took advantage of Terry Campese’s bomb, although Josh Mantellato couldn’t convert the try.

Early in the second half Mantellato had a try turned down by the video referee when he appeared to touch it down on the touch-in-goal line, and he then missed a penalty. But he was more successful on 53 and 60 minutes, giving the Robins an eight-point lead, and when Dixon touched down in the 65th minutes, although Mantellato couldn’t convert the try, Rovers looked to be in the ascendancy with a 12-point lead.

But Saints came roaring back with two tries in the final five minutes from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Turner, although there was a suspicion of forward passes for both tries, and Burns’ failure to convert the second meant that the Robins earned a justified success that has pushed them into the top eight in Super League and is an excellent preparation for Thursday’s Hull derby at the KC Stadium.

A full report, photos and analysis from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.