Catalans Dragons 29 Hull KR 28: Ryan Hall hat-trick in vain as KR suffer Golden Point agony

IT SHOULD perhaps be no surprise that Ryan Hall scored a hat-trick on his Hull KR debut tonight; this game was at Emerald Headingley after all.

Heartbreak for Hull KR as Catalans Dragons celebrate James Maloney's Golden Point drop goal. (BRUCE ROLLINSON)

Strangely, the record-breaking England winger, who made his name scoring at such a prolific rate here for Leeds Rhinos, failed to cross the line once in his two years in the NRL with Sydney Roosters.

However, having returned from Australia in the autumn, matters were quickly back to normal as the 33-year-old marked his return to Super League with a trademark treble on his old stomping ground.

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The only thing missing was victory. That was cruelly denied Hall and his side when Catalans Dragons’ James Maloney nervously slotted a drop goal two minutes into Golden Point extra-time of an epic and dramatic contest.

Rovers, who finished bottom last term, looked like being on the end of an opening night hiding when Hall’s England team-mate Sam Tomkins latest lovely pass ushered Catalans’ Fouad Yaha over for his second try and a 28-4 lead in the 50th minute.

It would have been easy to fall away. Instead, Rovers, pepped up by the arrival of Matt Parcell and Elliot Minchella, found some inspiration from somewhere and suddenly changed the course of the game.

A remarkable sequence saw not only Hall add two more tries to complete his treble but also saw George King twist over from close range for Jordan Abdull’s conversion to level at 28-28 in the 77th minute

It started with a wonderful solo try from Mikey Lewis, the diminutive scrum-half resembling Rob Burrow as he weaved and darted through the bamboozled Catalans defence to start the recovery.

Hull KR's Ryan Hall (BRUCE ROLLINSON)

Hall added his second try after Kane Linnett had grubbered through and Adam Quinlan found the long pass.

Catalans, so composed before, were now rattled, not least when Korbin Sims produced one shuddering hit on Matthieu Laguerre.

With extra punch and energy in defence, Rovers continued to get on top and Catalans forward Julian Bousquet soon lost his cool, needlessly getting sent to the sin-bin.

Down to 12 men, the French visitors could only watch on haplessly as Hall latched onto Abdull’s grubber for Abdull’s conversion to get them in touching distance.

Hull KR's Ryan Hall scores his second try (BRUCE ROLLINSON)

King did his bit but, at the start of the first period of extra-time, Catalans young full-back Arthur Morgue finally offered them some relief with a piercing run to get in range.

New South Wales State of Origin veteran Maloney did not hang around having his shot and gutted Rovers were left on their knees having come so close to a famous win.

Catalans had dominated the first period with Tomkins in sublime form as they scored tries via Yaha, Matt Whitley and Laguerre, Hall crossing for his first after a rare French handling error.

Ben Garcia followed his own grubber to score at the start of the second half before Yaha rumbled through Adam Quinlan but all the real drama was still to come.

Catalans Dragons: S Tomkins; Davies, Laguerre, Whare, Yaha; Maloney, Drinkwater; Goudemand, Da Coasta, Bousquet, Whitley, McMeeken, Garcia. Substitutes: Morgue, Seguier, Baiteiri, Kasiano.

Hull KR: Quinlan; Crooks, Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Hall; Lewis, Abdull; Sims, Litten, King, Linnett, Hadley, Lawler. Substitutes: Vete, Parcell, Minchella, Storton.

Referee: James Child (Dewsbury)