The final game of the Magic Weekend was the Hull derby as two sides struggling for form did battle with the Robins taking on the Airlie Birds for local bragging rights. A KR win by more than twenty-seven points would lift them above FC and into sixth place, a win of any description would see then seventh. If FC could get the points, then they would be up to fifth, providing that the win was by four or more points.
Both sides were in dour form, struggling for points, and many supporters were arriving wondering whether it was possible for both sides to lose. The last time that either side won was over a month ago, it didn´t bode well for the game that was bringing down the curtain on an excellent weekend.
The bookies were struggling to distinguish between the two sides, giving FC a two-point start on the coupon and showing KR as slight favourites despite them sacking their coach after last weekend´s loss to Toulouse and lots of changes to both sides.
It was a frantic and frenetic opening which convinced FC to take a kick at goal on five minutes after an infringement at the scrum. Luke Gale kicked the goal to put his side two points up.
A petulant penalty from Gale, with the ball in hand, gifted position to KR and on the third tackle Matt Parcell crashed the line and scrambled the ball onto the line, one handed under the tackle of three defenders. Lachlan Coote failed to add the conversion, KR with a two-point lead.
Connor Wynne grabbed the lead back for FC on twenty-five with a tenacious try as he pushed off one tackler and took another over the line with him. Gale added the conversion from wide for 8-4.
A beautiful interchange between Joe Lovodua and Jordan Lane saw the big stand off take the return pass and score by the uprights. Gale added the conversion for a 14-4 lead.
On thirty-six Sam Wood pulled one back for the Robins when he was on hand to take a pass five metres out and power his way over the line. Coote slid his conversion between the posts from wide.
After the half-time hooter Mikey Lewis chased his own grubber and grounded to level the scores and when Coote couldn´t add the conversion and the two sides went into the sheds locked up at 14-14.
It was a perfect start to the second half for FC as all three loanees played a part with Marcus Walker putting in a neat pass to Josh Simm, who sprinted down the wing and found Ellis Longstaff to go in. Gale added the conversion for 20-14.
Within a couple of minutes Longstaff was in again, this time picking up a Luke Gale chip through to score in the corner. Gale was on target with the boot and in the blink of an eye the Black and Whites were twelve points ahead.
On forty-eight the Robins struck back as they had some decent possession, Jimmy Keinhorst spinning over the line and managing to force the ball onto the ground. Coote missed the conversion, now on a twenty-five percent kick ratio for the game to leave his side still trailing by eight.
On fifty-five Brad Fash was yellow carded for a crusher tackle on Parcell, FC down to twelve for ten minutes.
KR gave the ball plenty of air from the resulting penalty and Lewis once again jinked bis way through the broken defence for his second try of the night. Coote was on target this time, the deficit down to two points with twenty-four minutes remaining.
Mikey Lewis completed his hat-trick on sixty-three as he dropped the shoulder and went through three FC tacklers to ground. Coote missed another conversion but once again KR had the lead.
Yet another change of lead on sixty-seven as KR were stretched as a wide ball from Darnell McIntosh found Josh Simm to cut inside and dive over. Gale added the conversion for 32-28 to FC. Neither side had the confidence to grab the game by the scruff of its neck and drag it home.
With eighth minutes remaining Elliott Minchella had a try chalked off for KR by the video referee after he was determined to have lost the ball in the act of scoring.
A high tackle by Keinhorst on Longstaff with six minutes remaining gifted Gale a penalty goal to extend the lead to six points as the derby headed to a nail-biting conclusion.
This was a tremendous end to end game between two sides who need to take a long hard look at their defences as they scored freely in attack. The lead changed hands on four occasions with neither side managing to grab the initiative and in the end it was the Black and Whites who held on for the win and the points which lifted them to fifth in the table. Thrillig for the supporters and the neutrals but a nighthmare for the two coaches.
Hull KR: Coote (2G), Crooks, Wood (T), Kenny-Dowall, Tate, Milnes, Lewis (3T), Vete, Parcell (T), Sims, Hadley, Halton, Minchella. Subs: Litten, Keinhorst (T), Maher, Fishwick.
Hull FC: Walker, Simm (T), Wynne (T), Griffin, McIntosh, Lovodua (T), Gale (7G), Satae, Houghton, Fash (SB on 53), Lane, Longstaff (2T), Brown. Subs: Hookem, Laidlaw, Severs, Taylor.
Score Progression: 0-2, 4-2, 4-6, 4-8, 4-12, 4-14, 8-14, 10-14, 14-14 : HT : 14-18, 14-20, 14-24, 14-26, 18-26, (SB), 22-26, 24-26, 28-26, 28-30, 28-32, 28-34 : FT.
Lead Exchanges: FC – KR – FC – Square - FC – KR – FC.
Referee: Chris Kendall.