Super League: London Broncos beat Hull KR to take relegation battle to final day

Jay Pitts has scored tries in both London Broncos' visits to Craven Park this season

Betfred Super League
Hull Kingston Rovers (6) 16
Tries: Dagger, Atkin, McGuire Goals: Shaw 2
London Broncos (14) 20
Tries: Gee, Lamb, Pitts Goals: Dixon 4

London Broncos won a breathtaking contest as they came from behind to beat Hull KR at Craven Park and take the Super League relegation battle to the final day of the season.

Broncos led 12-0 early on with tries from Matt Gee and Brock Lamb.

Rovers bounced back to lead 16-14 through scores from William Dagger, Chris Atkin and Danny McGuire.

But skipper Jay Pitts scored in the 78th minute, and Kieran Dixon landed his fourth kick to seal victory.

Broncos, promoted back to Super League a year ago, were within two minutes of being relegated at the first time of asking. But they now carry the season on to next weekend with all four bottom clubs locked on 20 points.

Huddersfield have the first chance to secure survival if they win at home to Catalans next Friday night. But then, on the Sunday, Broncos face another crunch away match at ninth-placed Wakefield, while Rovers must go to top three hopefuls Salford.

To add to all the drama on a supercharged night of high emotions, referee James Child was asked to put on report an allegation of a racist remark made against Rovers forward Mose Masoe.

Big finish and dream start for Broncos

If the finish was exciting, Broncos got off to the start of their dreams when Australian half-back Lamb inspired them to a 12-0 lead inside nine minutes.

First it was his brilliant pick-up from ankle height and offload to set up Gee for the first try on four minutes before then scoring himself, both converted by Dixon.

Rovers repaired half of the damage by the break when Dagger got over in the right corner, then had the presence of mind to stay on his feet and get round close to the posts for Ryan Shaw to kick the goal.

But Shaw then had a try disallowed before Rovers ended the half with two men lost from their 17-man squad.

After losing Dean Hadley with a shoulder problem, there was then a 10-minute delay when Masoe steamrollered into an attempted tackle which ended up laying out his own team-mate Jimmy Keinhorst, who had to be taken off on a stretcher with a head injury.

Hull KR were badly hampered by the first-half injury inflicted on Jimmy Keinhorst by his own team-mate Mose Masoe

It was roles reversed after the break as Rovers this time made the electric start.

Atkin’s converted try brought the hosts level for the first time before Dagger’s offload allowed the overlapping McGuire to go in at the right corner.

In his understandable excitement, McGuire went for a spectacular trademark diving finish when he too could have got round closer to the posts – and Shaw missed the touchline conversion.

Dixon then kicked wide for Broncos with his penalty attempt after Joel Tomkins and Rob Butler had clashed, not for the only time on the night.

But it was the visitors who had the last word when they finally made the most of their late pressure.

Hull KR head coach Tony Smith:

“I’m disappointed, absolutely. There were a lot of things that we didn’t set out to do.

“The first half damaged us. I cannot fault the effort of my players but London are hard to deal with. We allowed them to dictate the speed of the first half in particular.

“The injuries were disruptive but that’s one of the big challenges of sport, especially a physical sport like ours.

“It certainly put big pressure on some of the big men because some of them had to do longer periods on the field, but we will fire up for next week and do everything we can to put in a good performance.”

London head coach Danny Ward:

“We’re the team that won’t go away. That was an 80-minute performance. And we’ve got one more game to pull off now.

“We’ve got a four-way battle at the bottom now. But it shows the quality of the competition.

“It’s mental, madness and great for the neutral – but not too good for those involved. I’m not sure how many years in coaching I’ve got left if it’s like that – it might be a short career.

“This is up there with one of the best groups I’ve worked with. I’d love to play in this team. You can see the camaraderie and will to work hard for each other.”

Hull KR: Hall; Dagger, Crooks, J Keinhorst, Shaw; Drinkwater, McGuire; Mulhern, Parcell, Murray, Tomkins, Hauraki, Hadley.

Interchanges: Garbutt, Trout, Masoe, Atkin.

London Broncos: Walker; Dixon, Morgan, Kear, Williams; Abdull, Lamb; Battye, Cunningham, Butler, Pitts, Gee, Yates.

Interchanges: Fozard, Mason, Hindmarsh, Armitage.

Referee: James Child (RFL).

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BBC Sport – Rugby League

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