Warrington Wolves travelled to KCOM Craven Park for the third time in 2019, having won on their previous two away meetings with the Robins.
The Wire were convincing winners over Hull KR on Easter Monday and held on to a slender lead to advance in the Coral Challenge Cup just two weeks previous – adding to a round two home victory earlier in the season.
Steve Price made a handful of changes from the previous week’s win over Catalans Dragons; Jake Mamo returned from suspension to replace youngster Josh Thewlis, whilst Danny Walker was handed a first start in primrose and blue in place of Daryl Clark.
New Hull KR boss Tony Smith also shuffled his side with fullback Adam Quinlan returning from a long layoff.
The first half was a close, scrappy affair with both sides struggling to find any real rhythm amidst a series of errors and penalties. Centre Bryson Goodwin crossed for the only try of the half, with two goals each for Dec Patton and Robins’ winger Ryan Shaw.
A topsy-turvy second half saw the sides exchange the lead on several occasions. The Wire were looking to hold on to a narrow lead through Josh Charnley’s second half try but a late Adam Quinlan touchdown gave the Rovers the win over Warrington at the fourth time of asking this season.
Adam Quinlan, Ryan Shaw, Craig Hall, Ben Crooks, Will Dagger, Josh Drinkwater, Chris Atkin, Mose Masoe, George Lawler, Mitch Garbutt, Weller Hauraki, Joel Tomkins, Robbie Mulhern
Subs: Owen Harrison, Jimmy Keinhorst, Tommy Lee, Adam Rooks
Tries: Masoe, Quinlan
Goals: Shaw 4/4
Jake Mamo, Jack Johnson, Bryson Goodwin, Toby King, Josh Charnley, Blake Austin, Declan Patton, Chris Hill, Danny Walker, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jack Hughes
Subs: Sitaleki Akauola, Matt Davis, Jason Clark, Harvey Livett
Tries: Goodwin, Charnley
Goals: Patton 3/3
Both sides traded sets in a quiet opening five minutes until back-to-back penalties conceded by Warrington gave Ryan Shaw the chance to open the scoring with an easy two points from thirty metres out.
The home side remained largely in the ascendancy throughout a scrappy period littered with penalties from both sides. However, a dropped ball from Quinlan spurned a golden opportunity before a fine covering tackle from Jack Johnson on Will Dagger denied the Rovers in the opposite corner in the resulting set.
The Wire finally found their footing in the game and crossed for the first try of the afternoon when the in-form Bryson Goodwin cut through the Rovers defence and rounded the fullback to touch down. Patton added the extras to give Warrington a 2-6 advantage.
A strong period of possession for the visitors saw the Wolves force errors and repeat sets from the Rovers and resulted in Patton extending his sides lead with a penalty from close range, pushing the score out to 2-8.
The final minutes of the first half typified the game to that point with both teams exchanging errors and penalties. Hull KR wingman Ryan Shaw reduced Warrington’s lead to just four points with a penalty goal on the hooter, leaving the half time score at 4-8 to the Wire.
Josh Charnley’s break and kick inside, which just failed to find Dec Patton, was the only real highlight of the opening period of the second half as both sets of players endured a spell of driving rain in Hull.
Wire’s goal line defence was finally breached after fifty-five minutes when an inside ball gave Mose Masoe the chance to crash over under the posts. Shaw added the easy conversion to give the home side a 10-8 advantage.
The Rovers’ lead was short lived, however, as Toby King broke through thanks to a strong direct run down the right-hand side. He then found a cool pass to Josh Charnley who glided over. Patton kicked his third goal to make it 10-14.
Repeat sets on the Warrington line put the visitors under pressure inside the last ten minutes but a forward pass to put an end to a dangerous attack from Jimmy Keinhorst.
With just four minutes remaining, Will Dagger broke from distance and turned inside to the returning Adam Quinlan to level the scores. Ryan Shaw maintained his 100% record with the boot to edge Hull KR into the lead, 16-14.
The late drama wasn’t over as an error from the restart gave Warrington the chance to reply but a forward pass was called as Goodwin went close. Wire had one last set in possession but Sitaleki Akauola was adjudged to have knocked on inside the home team’s half, and the Robins claimed a vital league win.