Wakefield Trinity 6 Hull KR 34: Rovers let rugby do talking amid Belle Vue pitch drama

After voicing their disapproval over the state of Wakefield Trinity's controversial hybrid surface in the build-up, Hull KR let their rugby do the talking on Friday night.
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Willie Peters pulled no punches ahead of the trip to Belle Vue, labelling the pitch a risk to player safety.

KR's complaints fell on deaf ears with the Rugby Football League giving Wakefield the green light to host the round six fixture, just as they did ahead of the recent West Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Giants.

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Rovers channelled their frustration in the right way to claim a first victory in four games and pile more misery on winless Trinity, a side down to the bare bones in the absence of 10 first-team players.

Their visitors wrote the book on bad luck and did not escape unscathed after seeing Ryan Hall helped off with a worrying-looking leg injury in the first half.

The loss of the England winger for an extended period would be a huge blow for the Robins but they have the look of a team heading in the right direction again.

Wakefield, meanwhile, must be wondering where their first win is going to come from with a trip to four-time defending Super League champions St Helens up next.

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From their wretched form to the injury crisis and pitch drama, it has been an inauspicious start for Trinity, to put it mildly.

Hull KR players celebrate Kane Linnett’s try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Hull KR players celebrate Kane Linnett’s try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Hull KR players celebrate Kane Linnett’s try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

A home date with Hull KR was one they had to target amid fixtures against last year's top six but they failed to lay a glove on a professional Rovers outfit who had their own reasons to win after a poor run of results.

Peters' side built up an 18-0 lead to end the game as a contest by half-time despite some wayward goalkicking.

Wakefield head coach Mark Applegarth turned to Robbie Butterworth after losing several more players to injury in the wake of last week's agonising golden-point loss at Salford Red Devils and the young full-back endured a tough evening under the high ball in greasy conditions.

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Sam Wood got the scoreboard moving after benefiting from a drop by the Trinity debutant from Lachlan Coote's high kick.

The Belle Vue surface was back in the spotlight. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)The Belle Vue surface was back in the spotlight. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
The Belle Vue surface was back in the spotlight. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

It was not all plain sailing for the Robins in the opening 40 minutes, Hall limping off as Mikey Lewis sent the first of three conversion attempts wide.

Louis Senior scored KR's second after Coote was taken out following a kick and the visitors did not take their foot off the throat.

Rovers continued to pepper Butterworth and the youngster had no answer in swirling winds, dropping a steepler from Lewis to give the away side the field position to score a third through Tom Opacic.

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It went from bad to worse for Wakefield when loanee Sam Hewitt was sin-binned for a crusher tackle on Lewis.

The Robins took advantage through a strong finish by the returning Kane Linnett and Coote added the extras after taking over the kicking duties to make it 18-0 at the interval.

Wakefield had their moments without truly threatening KR's superiority, Corey Hall crowded out after claiming Mason Lino's high kick and Hewitt making a half-break in one of the highlights of a miserable half for the home side.

Lino saw a long-range penalty attempt drop short after the half-time hooter and Hall sent the kick-off out on the full once the action resumed.

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Rovers set up camp on the Wakefield line thanks to a series of deft kicks by Rowan Milnes and eventually found a way through as Lewis shrugged off several defenders to touch down.

Lewis turned provider when he raced clear through the middle and found Elliot Minchella who slid over under the posts.

Coote added his third goal to make it 30-0 before Trinity enjoyed a belated spell of pressure on the Hull KR line.

Jai Whitbread provided small cheer for the home supporters after taking Sam Eseh's offload but that was as good as it got for Wakefield.

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Rovers held firm – thanks in no small part to a superb tackle by Senior on Lee Kershaw – and had the last word through Opacic's strong finish out wide to leave Applegarth still searching for his first win as a head coach.

Wakefield Trinity: Butterworth, Kershaw, Lyne, Hall, Taufua, Langi, Lino, Atoni, Kay, Whitbread, Hewitt, Ashurst, Pitts. Substitutes: Battye, Butler, Eseh, Forber.

Hull KR: Coote, Senior, Opacic, Wood, Hall, Lewis, Milnes, Kennedy, Parcell, King, Batchelor, Linnett, Minchella. Substitutes: Sue, Litten, Luckley, Storton.

Referee: Aaron Moore.