MATCH REPORT | Hull KR | Round 13

Betfred Super League Round 13

Saturday 1 June 2024, Sewell Group Craven Park (5:30pm)

Hull KR 12-0 Leigh Leopards

Leopards went down to their first defeat in five Super League games after an intense, attritional, and defence-dominated Saturday evening encounter in East Hull.

Rovers have now won each of the four meetings between the sides since the Leopards’ Challenge Cup Final victory last August.

There was little to choose between a Rovers side that moved up to third with their ninth win in 13 games and an injury ravaged Leopards who put up a brave display.

Just two tries separated the teams with Tom Opacic breaking the deadlock 26 minutes into the first half, twisting over in a three-man tackle after Rovers worked a blindside move.

Mikey Lewis, who provided the assist, kicked the goal and was also on target with just ten minutes remaining when Niall Evalds finished off a flowing four-man move to seal the points.

Those moments, apart from when the home Player of the Match Kelepi Tanginoa had a try chalked off for a double movement by the video referee midway through the second half, were the only ones when Rovers really threatened the Leopards line.

Shorn of the likes of captain John Asiata, Gareth O’Brien, Robbie Mulhern, Matty Davis, Ollie Holmes and Ben McNamara through injury- and with several other players defying knocks- the Leopards defended superbly.

Normally only conceding 12 points would be the springboard for a win in Super League, especially for a side that has some of the best attacking shapes in the competition.

But Rovers defended excellently too- notably when hooker Jez Litten hauled down Zak Hardaker just before half-time when the Leopards centre looked all set a scorer.

Ricky Leutele was ruled to have lost possession of the ball over the Rovers line in a two-man tackle six minutes after the re-start.

And just after Tanginoa’s effort was ruled out Lachlan Lam was held up just short of the line in a thrilling counterattack sparked by Jack Hughes’s break.

Rovers held firm right to the end as wingers Josh Charnley and Umyla Hanley were both crowded out in opposite corners while Leutele just failed to reach Charnley’s grubber kick.

Frankie Halton, making his 100th career appearance against his former club, typified the effort and work rate of a Leopards side that on another day could so easily have returned along the M62 with the points.

Hull KR

2 Niall Evalds; 36 Jack Broadbent, 1 Peta Hiku, 3 Tom Opacic, 5 Ryan Hall; 27 Tyrone May, 7 Mikey Lewis; 8 Sauaso Sue, 9 Jez Lirtten, 16 Jai Whitbread, 11 Dean Hadley, 12 James Batchelor, 13 Elliot Minchella (capt)

Bench: 10 George King, 14 Matt Parcell, 15 Sam Luckley, 20 Kelepi Tanginoa. 18th player: 17 Matty Storton (not used)

Tries: Opacic (26), Evalds (70): Goals: Lewis 2/ 2

Leopards

3 Zak Hardaker; 24 Umyla Hanley, 19 Ed Chamberlain, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Josh Charnley; 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Lachlan Lam (capt): 8 Tom Amone, 9 Edwin Ipape, 17 Owen Trout, 11 Kai O’Donnell, 16 Frankie Halton, 12 Jack Hughes

Bench: 33 Brad Dwyer, 34 Darnell McIntosh, 29 Lewis Baxter, 14 Dan Norman. 18th player: 25 Tom Nisbet (not used)

Scoring sequence: 6-0 (ht) 12-0

Penalty count: 4-7

Attendance: 9,500 (estimated)

Referee: Liam Moore; Touch judges: M Craven & R Cox; Reserve referee: Sam Houghton; Match Commissioner: T Randerson; Video referee: Aaron Moore; Timekeeper: M Hawkes

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