HULL KINGSTON Rovers coach Tony Smith saluted “champion” Danny McGuire after the veteran half-back kicked the Robins closer to Super League survival.
McGuire’s golden-point drop goal sealed a 27-26 win over Castleford Tigers, after he had booted a 40-20 kick to set up field position.
The victory lifted Hull KR two points clear of bottom club London Broncos. Comparing McGuire to Australian Test batsman Steve Smith, the Robins’ coach said:
“Top class sportsmen step up in those pressure situations. To come up with the 40-20 and then the field goal straight away, it was just smart play.”
McGuire had missed with two earlier attempts at a one-pointer and Smith added: “It was guts and confidence. That’s what champions do, they fail sometimes, but still step up to the plate and have a go the next time.”
Smith, who coached McGuire at Leeds Rhinos from 2004-2007, revealed he wasn’t in his good books at half-time when Rovers – who had led 12-0 – trailed 20-14.
He said: “We had a good start, we got away well, but Cas worked hard to get back into the game and deserved to be in front. I wasn’t best pleased at half-time. It wasn’t that we were behind, it was the manner in which we went about it. I was angry with Joel [Tomkins], I was angry with Danny. I just think their focus was in the wrong area. There was too much time spent talking with the referee or being spoken to by the referee. It wasn’t helping our chances.”
Smith felt his side “tried really hard” in the second period and did not panic when the game seemed to be going away from them.
“They gave the second half a real shake,” he observed. “They fought their way back in and made some things happen.”
Castleford dropped to sixth in the table when Catalans beat Warrington Wolves on Saturday. Their coach Daryl Powell, who gave McGuire his Leeds debut 18 years ago, blamed a “lack of composure and nous at the end”. He said: “I thought they were pretty smart in extra-time, they kick a 40-20 and then drop a goal and that’s it. We should have won it in normal time so it was really disappointing.”