After Toulouse Olympique XIII beat the Leeds Rhinos last night in the south of France, Wakefield Trinity found themselves bottom of the table and staring into the abyss as they travelled to Hull to face a Hull KR side who themselves were looking to avoid getting drawn into what could be a nerve-racking dogfight to avoid the drop.
Hull KR were big favourites pre-match, the bookies giving the visitors an eighth point start on the handicap coupon but both sides came into the game on the back of soul-destroying losses at the Magic Weekend, the Robins to cross city rivals FC and Wakefield to their main rivals for relegation, Toulouse.
It was a game which neither side could afford to lose.
It was a baking hot and energy sapping afternoon in Hull as the two sides took to the field.
The opening quarter of the game was a grind, the home side just edging it, but just after the twenty-minute drinks break Max Jowitt went outside Lachlan Coote off a Mason Lino pass to run the angle and ground in the corner to break the deadlock. Jowitt could not add the extras to his own try, Trinity 4-0 to the good.
Lachlan Coote somehow managed to ground a ball that he´d failed to gather from a high bomb, Jorge Taufua looking to ground for a second Trinity try, but the referee saw Coote´s lunge to ground in goal.
KR were back on level terms within three minutes of the restart when Jimmy Keinhorst took a Coote pass to go over in the corner after Mikey Lewis had earlier broken the line. Coote was a long way away from adding the conversion, the sides locked up.
Taufua was robbed of the ball as he tried to take a kick through, Ethan Ryan the one doing the stealing, the winger walking in to dot down for an 8-4 lead. Coote again off target with the conversion.
Just after the hour Coote scored KR´s third try of the afternoon as he walked through a broken defence to score all too easily against a side scrambling for their Super League survival. Coote managed to convert his own try for 14-4, it was looking ominous for Trinity.
Will Dagger added a drop goal on seventy minutes for 15-4.
Wakefield saw a chink of light on seventy-three thanks to a Mason Lino long pass to Lewis Murphy with the winger crossing for a four pointer. Lino added the conversion, and the margin was back to just five points. Now it was KR´s nerves that were jangling.
Jacob Miller was held up over the line on seventy-six when Trinity looked like snatching the win, and when Lino put a kick into the corner the chasing backs knocked on in goal, the game slipped beyond the visitors.
Wakefield´s woes continue as the end the round in bottom spot. A blessed relief for Danny McGuire´s Robins as they edge themselves further away from trouble and closer towards the play-off places. Not a great spectacle but plenty of excitement in the closing moments. For Robins supporters the quality won´t matter, just the points.
Hull KR: Coote (T, G), Ryan (T), Wood, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Dagger (DG), Lewis, King, Parcell, Sims, Hadley, Keinhorst (T), Minchella. Subs: Litten, Royle, Maher, Fishwick.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt (T), Taufua, Hall, Croft, Murphy (T), Miller, Lino, Arona, Hood, Whitbread, Ashurst, Pitts, Batchelor. Subs: Fifita, Tanginoa, Bowes, Bowden.
Score Progression: 0-4 : HT : 4-4, 8-4, 12-4, 14-4, 15-4, 15-8, 15-10 : FT.
Lead Exchanges: Wakefield – Square – Hull KR.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths.