Hull KR 30-18 London Broncos: Hull KR close on survival after victory
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 15/09/18 8:37pm
Hull KR took another significant step towards Super League survival with a hard-fought 30-18 victory over London Broncos in Round 5 of the Super 8s Qualifiers at KCOM Craven Park.
The patched-up Robins lost Adam Quinlan, Danny McGuire, Maurice Blair Mose Masoe, Lee Jewitt and Justin Carney from last week's win over Halifax but still had too much craft for their Championship opponents as they ground their way to a fourth successive victory.
It lifts them level on eight points with Salford and Leeds with two rounds left in their pursuit of a top-three finish and leaves London fighting for a place in the Million Pound game for their best chance of promotion.
Rovers looked to have wrapped up the points by half-time when they led 20-6 but the Broncos battled back strongly and dominated for long periods of the second half to get to within two points and set up a tense finish.
The home side were only able to breathe easily when James Greenwood went over for his second try of the match 10 minutes from the end and centre Junior Vaivai gave them a flattering margin of victory with a late score.
They were down to 12 men early on when centre Ben Crooks was sent to the sin-bin for throwing the ball away and could have fallen behind had the Broncos been able to make more of a break from skipper Jay Pitts.
But Rovers opened the scoring while a man down as second rower Greenwood forced his way over from close range for a soft try and Chris Atkin kicked the first of his three goals.
London equalised when winger Michael Channing touched down a speculative kick to the corner from the ever-threatening Jarrod Sammut, who added the touchline conversion.
Atkin nudged his side back in front with a penalty before finishing off some clever work from Vaivai to score the Robins' second try midway through the first half.
The Broncos threatened when Eloi Pelissier and Sadiq Adebiyi entered the action from the bench but the home defence was largely untroubled up to the break.
There looked to be no way back for the Broncos when hooker Tommy Lee forced his way over from dummy half on the last tackle for a third try and Danny Tickle kicked a penalty to stretch the lead to 20-6.
Both London second rower Daniel Hindmarsh and Tickle were held up over the line as the game entered a period of stalemate in the third quarter but towering substitute Will Lovell gave the visitors renewed hope when he burrowed his way over for a 55th-minute try.
And the fightback continued when Channing won the race to the ball at the corner to claim his second try and Sammut kicked his third goal from as many attempts, once more from the touchline.
The Londoners sensed a surprise victory but it was snatched away 10 minutes from the end when Greenwood took Atkin's short pass to crash over and Vaivai made sure with a fifth try six minutes later.