Hull KR 22 Wigan Warriors 26: Robins left empty-handed after golden-point classic

If ever there was an advert for the return of the draw, this pulsating clash under the lights at Craven Park was it.

Neither side deserved to come away empty-handed but it was Hull KR that dropped to their knees in the dying seconds of the 85th minute after seeing Liam Farrell complete his hat-trick.

There was nothing to separate the teams in the Super League table ahead of kick-off and they produced a classic in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

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The Robins looked set to leapfrog Wigan Warriors into second place after taking a 22-14 lead into the final seven minutes but two late tries from the visitors took the game to golden point.

Mikey Lewis saw a drop-goal attempt rebound off the post before the electric Bevan French burst through the middle of KR's defence and Farrell landed the knockout blow.

Rovers will play worse and win – and on this evidence will be competing with Wigan in the play-offs – but they were ultimately undone by a team that carried an abundance of threats from deep.

After suffering a humbling defeat at Craven Park in round one, Wigan did not need any encouragement but got an immediate leg-up when Lewis put the kick-off out on the full.

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The Warriors ran with intent from the start and had an early opportunity to turn the screw after French forced Ethan Ryan to knock a deft grubber kick dead.

Mikey Lewis dejected after Hull KR's loss to Wigan. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/ Lewis dejected after Hull KR's loss to Wigan. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/
Mikey Lewis dejected after Hull KR's loss to Wigan. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/

Rovers stood firm and matched Wigan's intensity to get a foothold in the game.

Matt Parcell tested the visiting defence on the back of an offload by Elliot Minchella and the Robins threatened after Ryan kept the ball alive from Lewis' towering kick.

When Wigan's opening try came in the 11th minute, it was against the run of play.

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Tom Opacic was guilty of a poor defensive read inside his own 40 to give French the time he needed to put Liam Marshall into space down the left, with Farrell in support to finish in the corner.

Abbas Miski dives for the game-tying try. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/ Miski dives for the game-tying try. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/
Abbas Miski dives for the game-tying try. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/

Harry Smith sent his touchline conversion wide but Rovers were on notice against Wigan's potent left edge.

KR responded positively and turned their territory into points on 22 minutes thanks to Ryan Hall's freakish strength.

There looked to be nothing on when Lewis worked the short side on the last tackle but then again Hall is no ordinary winger, the former England man holding off two defenders in a tight space before demonstrating his dexterity to get the ball down.

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Wigan went up a gear after seeing Lewis miss his conversion and threatened when Abbas Miski was denied by a forceful gang tackle.

The Warriors got their second try seven minutes from the break through the evergreen Farrell, the second-rower backing up another Marshall break orchestrated by French with Ryan left flat-footed.

Smith added the extras but Wigan needed a superb last-ditch tackle by Junior Nsemba to deny Hall what appeared to be a certain second try just before half-time.

Rovers must have been wondering how they were behind at the interval after dominating large parts of the opening 40 minutes – and their mood did not improve in the early stages of the second half.

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Patrick Mago came up with a big play to knock the ball from Ryan's grasp as the KR full-back threatened to break clear from his own 20.

In the next set, Wigan stripped the Robins of numbers out wide to give Marshall a walk-in try.

Play was halted due to a lingering drone above Craven Park and there was a noticeable lift from the home side after Smith missed the delayed conversion.

Seeing that Corey Hall was struggling up against Marshall, Peters moved the youngster over to the left edge in a switch with Shaun Kenny-Dowall and instructed his side to speed up the ruck.

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Rovers got their rewards when Parcell slammed the ball down from close range and Lewis knocked over the conversion to make it a four-point game.

Just when it looked like the Robins were running Wigan off their feet, the Warriors came up with another big play down the left to switch the momentum.

Ryan Hall took one for the team with a professional foul on French as the full-back threatened to score from his own kick but the 10 minutes that followed did not go to script.

James Batchelor powered over from close range just before the hour mark and Rovers had the lead for the first time when Lewis added the extras.

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The Robins appeared to be home and hosed after Luis Johnson marked his first appearance of the year with a converted try from Jez Litten's neat grubber – but Wigan had other ideas.

Marshall scored from Smith's kick after Rovers failed to deal with the restart and Wigan threw everything at their scrambling hosts in the closing minutes.

KR looked to have done enough when Ryan pulled off a try-saving tackle on Marshall but in the final second, Miski produced a sensational finish in the corner to give Smith the chance to win it in normal time.

The Wigan half-back prolonged the drama to set the stage for French to lay on Farrell's third try after Lewis had hit the post for Rovers in heartbreaking fashion.

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Hull KR: Ryan, C Hall, Opacic, Kenny-Dowall, R Hall, Lewis, Litten, Sue, Parcell, Hadley, Batchelor, Linnett, Minchella. Substitutes: Storton, Wood, Johnson, Luckley.

Wigan Warriors: French, Miski, King, Wardle, Marshall, Hampshire, Smith, Ellis, Powell, Byrne, Smithies, Farrell, Shorrocks. Substitutes: Mago, Hill, O'Neill, Nsemba.

Referee: Jack Smith.

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