It was a scrappy victory and Salford scored four tries the Robins’ three, but that will be of little concern to the East Yorkshire outfit who gave their Super League survival hopes a much-needed boost.
They had seen leads of 14-0 and 20-6 wiped out largely due to a brace of tries by their former winger Ken Sio, but Krisnan Inu couldn’t convert either from the left touchline, his first attempt bouncing away after striking a post.
Salford were very much their own worst enemy and after Sio’s equalising try, with 10 minutes left, Robert Lui hurled a pass forward into touch, then Josh Drinkwater was tackled high by Joey Lussick and Ryan Shaw took the two to secure the points.
“We showed a lot of guts and had a dig, not an easy game with a bit of controversy here and there,” said Hull KR chief Tim Sheens. “At the end of the day, I felt we were the better side for the majority of the game.
“We had a good lead and gave up a try to 12 men (when Pauli Pauli was sin-binned). We came out in the second half, they were throwing it around, quick passes. Fortunately, they missed a couple of goals and we kicked the ones that counted.”
Rovers are next in action against Warrington in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals on Friday and Sheens added: “We take two points and we have a short turnaround to Friday.
“We can’t stop to think too much, so go home, recover and get ready for a big game.”
The tone was set early on when Sio and Salford’s other winger Derrell Olpherts both dropped long passes, from Jackson Hastings and Niall Evalds respectively, with the line at their mercy.
Rovers took advantage to go ahead through Kane Linnett who stormed on to Craig Hall’s pass and took three defenders over the line with him. Shaw booted the first of three conversions and added a penalty after dissent by Salford in front of their posts.
Twelve minutes before the break, Rovers created some space down their left, Shaw kicked infield, Hastings and Sio failed to dive on the ball and Hall was presented with a simple touchdown.
Soon after, on-loan Pauli Pauli was introduced, but before his arrival had even been announced to the crowd he was back on the bench, shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Drinkwater.
Lussick’s try on the stroke of half-time, improved by Inu, gave Salford hope at 14-6, but soon after the interval they were marched 10 metres for dissent at a penalty.
At the end of the set, Drinkwater kicked over the line hoping for a drop-out, Olpherts tried to knock the ball dead, but instead kept it in and Hall touched down.
Pauli redeemed himself by crashing over on a powerful run with Inu adding the extras.
Sio’s double looked set to ruin Rovers’ day, but ill-discipline proved Salford’s undoing.
Hull KR: Hall, Crooks, Keinhorst, Linnett, Shaw, McGuire, Drinkwater, Masoe, Addy, Mulhern, Hauraki, Tomkins, Lawler. Substitutes: Lunt, Garbutt, Maria. Unused Atkin.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Sio, Welham, Inu, Olpherts, Lui, Hastings, Mossop, Lusick, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, Burke. Substitutes: McCarthy, Pauli, Walker. Unused Bibby.
Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).