Match Report – Warrington Wolves
Hull KR collapsed in the final quarter on their way to a 50-26 defeat at Warrington Wolves.
Rovers were level with 20 minutes to go but had no answer to the home side in a hugely disappointing finish to an entertaining game.
KR reporter James O’Brien delivers the verdict from the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The Robins have come a long way in recent weeks and went toe to toe with one of the favourites to win the Grand Final for an hour.
With the left edge on top form, Rovers threatened to cause a shock that would have sent shockwaves through Super League.
But Warrington went on to score five tries in the final quarter to leave KR shellshocked at full-time.
Rovers can take a lot from the way they performed for long periods, with their performance good enough to beat most sides in Super League.
But they were given a reality check in the closing stages to leave Tony Smith and his coaching staff with plenty to work on in the next two weeks.
Much of the attention was on Greg Inglis as the game got under way and he took a while to find, with all eyes on the right edge only for the 34-year-old to take his place on the left.
As they had in their previous three outings, Rovers came flying out of the traps and opened the scoring inside three minutes.
There looked to be nothing on as they worked the short side but Kenny-Dowall powered his way over from close range to stun the hosts.
Jordan Abdull added the extras with a superb touchline conversion to give KR the perfect side.
But Warrington have hit their straps in recent weeks and they came storming back as the Robins struggled to live with their offloading game.
First Toby King – at right centre to accommodate Inglis – took advantage of poor defence to work his way over out wide before Adam Quinlan made a mess of Gareth Widdop’s dab through to allow Ben Currie to touch down.
Stefan Ratchford nailed both conversions to leave the Wolves in the ascendancy after 16 minutes.
KR did well to change the momentum of the game and then took control with the left edge in scintillating form.
Rovers opted to run it on the last and Warrington were unable to keep Hall out after good work by Abdull and Kenny-Dowall.
Abdull made it 12-12 with another brilliant touchline conversion and then edged KR back ahead from a penalty bang in front of the posts.
The Robins looked dangerous every time they got close to the Wire line and were over again out wide on the left thanks to a lovely bit of play by Abdull.
Abdull dummied to go right only to go down the short side and touch down himself after selling the Warrington defence with another dummy.
The half-back was wide with his conversion attempt but Rovers went into the break with an 18-12 lead and were good value for it.
Predictably Warrington came out fired up and did not take long to get over, Currie taking advantage of space out wide to muscle his way over for his second try.
Inglis had a difficult time of it in the first half but there was always a fear that he had something up his sleeve and so it proved, the centre somehow getting the ball down despite plenty of attention.
Ratchford converted from the touchline to make it 22-18 after 52 minutes and Rovers were rocking.
Warrington lost Matty Ashton to injury with Inglis slotting in at full-back and KR went on to put together their best set of the half.
The Robins got close to the Wire line on the last and it was the left edge that did the damage again, Abdull with the vision to give Kenny-Dowall all the time in the world to put Hall over.
It was 22-22 heading into the final quarter after Abdull missed his kick but the game quickly got away from Rovers.
Daryl Clark went over under the posts to edge Warrington back ahead and then came the crucial moment as Jake Mamo intercepted a Quinlan pass near halfway before racing clear to score.
That was the game and it threatened to get messy when Josh Charnley dived over in the corner on the last tackle.
Rovers scored a consolation through Linnett after Warrington failed to deal with a high kick by Abdull but the hosts finished with a flourish, scoring through Danny Walker and Charnley with Luis Johnson in the sin bin for a professional foul.
Rovers were well in the game with 15 minutes to go but Quinlan threw a speculator which was picked off by Mamo for the clincher.
Good day – Jordan Abdull
The half-back continued his fine form with another sublime performance running a dangerous left edge.
Bad day – Adam Quinlan
The Australian looked off colour in the first month of the season and delivered his worst display of the season with some poor efforts in defence and a poor pass that allowed Warrington to seal the win.
KR’s defeat to Castleford in the Challenge Cup means they have next weekend off and a 16-day turnaround before they travel to the Tigers for the first game back in front of fans.
Warrington: Matty Ashton, Jake Mamo, Greg Inglis, Toby King, Josh Charnley, Stefan Ratchford, Gareth Widdop, Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes, Matt Davis.
Bench: Joe Philbin, Jason Clark, Danny Walker, Sitaleki Akauola.
Hull KR: Adam Quinlan, Ethan Ryan, Brad Takairangi, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Rowan Milnes, George Lawler, Matt Parcell, George King, Luis Johnson, Kane Linnett, Dean Hadley.
Bench: Korbin Sims, Jez Litten, Matty Storton, Muizz Mustapha.