Hull KR 24
Tries: Kelly 2, Sio, Dixon
Goals: Mantellato 4/6
St Helens 22
Tries: Wilkin, Makinson, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Turner
Goals: Burns 3/4
Hull KR moved into the top 8 following their 24-22 victory over league leaders St Helens at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
Saints almost grabbed a point in controversial circumstances late on, but former Rovers star Travis Burns failed to convert Jordan Turner’s try on the full-time hooter.
There appeared to be a forward pass in the build up to Turner’s touch down and there was another from Burns to put McCarthy-Scarsbrook over just four minutes earlier. However, James Child and his touch judges missed them both, but Burns’ missed goal meant the Robins claimed a well deserved win.
The ex-Hull KR half-back’s night didn’t start off too well when he was on the receiving end of James Green’s late challenge after just two minutes. Green’s shoulder made contact with Burns’ face and swelling developed around his eye as the game wore on.
It was the defending champions who scored first, Jon Wilkin’s attempted grubber kick bounced back to him off a Rovers defender and he was able to touch down to the left of the posts.
Albert Kelly then scored two superb length of the field tries to put the home side 12-6 in front. The first came after the former Gold Coast Titan collected a Wilkin dab towards the in goal area and the second after he intercepted a short pass from Burns. On both occasions he left the Saints chasers in his wake.
On 27 minutes St Helens levelled the game up through Tommy Makinson’s try. Josh Mantellato made a mess of Wilkin’s high bomb, Atelea Vea picked the ball up and found Makinson wide on the right touchline, he jinked inside, side stepping Kris Welham and Terry Campese before touching down.
But Rovers went in ahead at half-time courtesy of Ken Sio’s 8th try of the season. Campese’s high kick wasn’t claimed by Adam Swift and Sio won the race to get to the ball in the in goal area to give the hosts the lead.
St Helens haven’t won at Hull KR since 2007 and it looked increasingly more likely that that run would continue when Mantellato slotted over two penalty goals before the hour mark. He almost had a try to his name too, but grounded the ball on the dead ball line and the in goal area simultaneously.
Kieron Dixon’s try with 16 minutes remaining looked like it would wrap up the two points for Chris Chester’s men. Campese fed the young full-back and the former London Bronco threw a dummy to help him beat Burns and score. Mantellato missed the conversion but Hull KR now led 24-12.
Saints withstood more Rovers pressure before McCarthy-Scarsbrook scored with just five minutes left to play. The Robins’ defence had almost bundled Swift into touch on the left hand side before the defending champions moved the ball in field. Burns ran at Campese and threw a pass around the Hull KR skipper for McCarthy-Scarsbrook to run on to and score. It looked like a clear forward pass but referee James Child awarded the try, much to the disdain of the home fans. Burns added the extra two points and Saints were only six points behind.
Amazingly, Wilkin’s long pass out to the left in the build up to Turner’s try also appeared to drift forward, but again the officials allowed play to continue. Swift ran towards the corner and drew in the defence before passing to Turner who was able to touch down.
A battered and bruised Burns lined up the conversion attempt but drifted it in front of the posts and not between them to compound a tough return to Craven Park for himself personally.
The final hooter sounded immediately after the failed attempt and Rovers were victorious in a game they were good value for winning. They are now 8th in the table ahead of next Thursday’s Hull derby.
Saints stay top, for now at least, but have lost their 100% Super League record. They will also be sweating on injuries suffered to James Roby and Atelea Vea in the game, before they take on Wigan on Good Friday.