IT seems resilient Hull FC thrive on doing things the hard way at Hull KR’s KCOM Craven Park.
It was on Good Friday two years ago when they recovered from 20-0 down after almost an hour’s play to somehow win a famous derby 22-20.
In this latest instance, Lee Radford’s side managed to secure another memorable success remarkably after being down to 12 men for almost the entire game.
Hull winger Bureta Faraimo was red-carded in the ninth minute for a late and high shoulder charge on Rovers’ half-back Chris Atkin.
The USA international, playing in his first such derby, could have no real complaints but it did not deter his team-mates who battled on regardless to leave their fierce rivals in real trouble with just two wins from eight games so far.
Rarely in the 229 previous meetings between these sides has a player scored a hat-trick and still ended up on the losing side but that fate befell Hull KR centre Thomas Minns in front of a stadium record attendance of 12,090.
In this latest instance, Lee Radford’s side managed to secure another memorable success remarkably after being down to 12 men for almost the entire game.Dave Craven
When news filtered through yesterday morning that KR captain Shaun Lunt and playmaker Danny McGuire had both failed fitness tests, Rovers fans must already have feared the worst.
Those feelings were only exacerbated when Danny Houghton – the Hull captain making his return after an injury on their New South Wales tour – crossed inside three minutes for an early lead.
However, their mood should have changed markedly when Faraimo was dismissed. It did not as the spirited visitors, with Carlos Tuimavave, Mark Minichiello and two-try Fetuli Talanoa in fine form, refused to be cowed and Rovers somehow fell to pieces.
Initially, they made the most of the extra man, Minns going over for the first of his treble within four minutes.
It was a lovely cut-out pass from Atkin – showing no ill-effects from that head shot – to send Minns clear from deep and then the centre exchanged passes with Justin Carney to exploit the extra space where Faraimo once was.
Soon after, Adam Quinlan did so, too, dummying over only for the video referee Phil Bentham to rule an obstruction.
It seemed harsh. But decisions often do when it comes to that ludicrous law.
Hull gained some respite courtesy of Marc Sneyd’s fine 40/20 kick and sleight half-back Matty Marsh – in for McGuire – showed remarkable strength to drive Minichiello back just as the Australian forward seemed certain to charge over.
Another Ben Kavanagh fumble, though, gifted the visitors more possession – KR needed to control the ball so much better against 12 men – and FC hit them with a quick one-two.
Both tries were softly conceded. First, Tuimavave was able to bump his way out of tackles and wriggle free to find Jamie Shaul who, in turn, was given acres of space to find Talanoa who finished well in the 27th minute.
In the next set, Kiwi centre Tuimavave evaded Liam Salter to skip clear and Shaul supported his break for Sneyd’s third conversion to leave Radford’s side 18-6 ahead. KR were fortunate to get the ball back after Quinlan juggled but spilled Ryan Shaw’s short restart. Referee Chris Kendall initially awarded a Hull scrum only for Bentham to spot a charge off the ball by Danny Washbrook.
Minns eventually got his second from there, Quinlan’s fine long ball to Carney proving crucial, the Australian winger then finding the ex-Leeds Rhinos centre back on his inside.
Shaw converted and thought he had secured back-to-back tries for the Robins after Quinlan – again – had put him into space down the right but there was a forward pass from Tommy Lee.
To compound matters, Tim Sheens side’ conceded yet another awful try with just seconds of the half remaining.
Once more, it seemed their right-edge defence had gone off somewhere on an early Easter egg hunt as Shaul was able to slip Talanoa in for his ninth of the year.
That said, Marsh came to life to create some space for Quinlan to furnish Shaw in the 46th minute, leaving his side only 22-16 behind.
Yet they self-imploded again, replacement winger Jake Connor left in acres of room to surge onto Albert Kelly’s long pass and score.
Sneyd converted and added a penalty before Rovers seemed to finally realise they were running out of time, Minns claim his hat-trick with 13 minutes to go. For all their hustle they missed the calmness of McGuire and Lunt.
Hull KR: Quinlan; Shaw, Salter, Minns, Carney; Marsh, Atkin; Jewitt, Lee, Masoe, Greenwood, Blair, Kavanagh. Substitutes: Scruton, Donaldson, Clarkson, Dagger.
Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Griffin, Tuimavave, Talanoa; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Paea, Lane, Minichiello, Green. Substitutes: Bowden, Matongo, Connor, Washbrook.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).