Hull KR 34 Castleford Tigers 10: Match report
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Rovers deserved their win, which secured a place in next month’s last-four double-header at Elland Road, but the game was closer than the 22-point margin suggests, the home side scoring 18 of their points in the last 15 minutes.
Tigers, breaten 26-10 on the same ground in Super League earlier this season, hit back from 12-0 down to trail by only two points at the break, the difference being two conversions by Lachlan Coote to one from Gareth O’Brien.
At that stage it seemed the next try would be crucial and once Rovers had scored it, some of the fight seemed to go out of Cas.
The first half’s four tries were shared by two players, Elliot Minchella bagging a brace for Rovers - and having one disallowed - before Greg Eden did the same for Tigers.
Paul McShane gave Tigers a boost early in the second half when he returned to the action after being hurt midway through the first, but the visitors lost Bureta Faraimo and Jordan Turner to injuries later in the game, which will be a concern for coach Lee Radford with the busy Easter period looming.
Castleford looked a threat at times, particularly when attacking from deep, but made too many errors and conceded some costly penalties.
Minchella got over the line twice in the opening 10 minutes, but only one of those counted.
He got on to the end of a Rowan Milnes kick to open the scoring after four minutes.
Four later, Minchella stretched over from a pass by acting-half Matt Parcell, referee Robert Hicks thought it was a try, but video assistant James Child spotted a knock-on.
Tigers’ only real opportunity in the opening quarter came from a break and kick by Faraimo and when Minchella doubled the hosts’ lead, Cas seemed in deep trouble.
Milnes put up a high kick on the last which Coote tapped back; Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Kane Linnett kept the ball alive until it reached Milnes and he repeated his trick from earlier with another well-judged grubber behind the line which Minchella touched down.
A brilliant weaving run by Evalds set up Castleford’s response, 14 minutes before the interval.
He had the Robins’ defence back-pedalling and though Adam Milner seemed to have made a mistake when he kicked early, Coote spilled it and from the scrum, in-form winger Eden touched down acrobatically from a smart pass by Kenny Edwards.
Coote’s restart sailed out on the full and in the subsequent set O’Brien’s kick went via Parcell to Mamo, but he was held up over the line
Five minutes before the interval, though, another attack from deep did produce Tigers’ second try. Again Eden finished off, after an excellent build-up by Turner and Evalds.
Parcell was twice held up over Castleford’s line in the early stages of the second period before Ryan Hall gave the Robins some breathing space with a strong finish from an outstanding pass by Coote.
The conversion was missed leaving only six points between the teams, but Milnes touched down from a kick by Jordan Abdull with 15 minutes left to double the lead and Sam Wood settled it six minutes later when he burst over from Abdull’s pass.
In the final seconds Abdull broke clear from inside his own half and Coote landed his fifth goal to complete the scoring.
Hull KR: Cootes, Keinhorst, Wood, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Lewis, Milnes, Maher, Parcell, King, Linnett, Halton, Minchella. Subs Abdull, Storton, Litten, Richards.
Castleford Tigers: Evalds, Eden, Turner, Mamo, Faraimo, Trueman, O’Brien, Massey, McShane, Smith, Edwards, Griffin, Westerman. Subs Watts, Milner, Fonua, Matagi.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).