Hull KR 40 St Helens 20: Willie Peters' side show Super League credentials in rout of fallen champions

The road to Old Trafford is long and fraught with danger but Hull KR are forcing their way to the front of the queue.

A week on from downing defending Super League champions Wigan Warriors, Rovers dished out the same treatment to the most successful club of the summer era to send another message to their title rivals.

Willie Peters' side not only beat St Helens – the champions in four of the previous five seasons – they hammered them with a performance that showcased their attacking strike.

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Jack Broadbent slipped in seamlessly as a late replacement for Oliver Gildart and marked an impressive debut with a try but the Robins have weapons all over the park and deployed every one to dismantle the best defence in the competition.

After conceding just 70 points in the opening nine rounds, Saints were powerless to prevent KR from putting 40 on them in the Craven Park sunshine.

Nothing is won in May but it was further proof that Peters' men are genuine contenders for the Super League crown.

Remarkably, the top six are all locked on 14 points to highlight the work still to come.

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For now – or a day or two at least – the Robins can bask in another statement win in a hugely entertaining game.

Hull KR captain Elliot Minchella celebrates during another big win for his side. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/ KR captain Elliot Minchella celebrates during another big win for his side. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/
Hull KR captain Elliot Minchella celebrates during another big win for his side. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/

Rovers gave Super League's strongest defence a torrid time from the off and would have been further ahead than 16-14 at the break but for costly lapses, Ryan Hall the chief culprit.

The Robins made a fast start and hit the front in the eighth minute when Mikey Lewis chipped towards the posts and Tyrone May raced through to touch down.

The try owed to an extra effort from Jai Whitbread, the front-rower charging down Lewis Dodd's kick to set up the chance to attack the Saints line.

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But the hard work was undone when Hall misjudged Mark Percival's restart to give the visitors the chance to respond.

Mikey Lewis runs in for a try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/ Lewis runs in for a try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/
Mikey Lewis runs in for a try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/

Rovers denied Jack Welsby once but were guilty of a series of soft attempts moments later to give the England full-back an easy passage to the line.

Both defences were struggling with the tempo of the game and it became more taxing for St Helens after Morgan Knowles was sin-binned for catching Whitbread high.

The Robins took advantage of the loose forward's indiscretion through the influential Lewis with Saints chasing shadows.

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Jesse Sue broke free from a tackle near halfway to get the ball away to Elliot Minchella who engaged Welsby before giving Lewis a clear run to the line.

Morgan Knowles is shown a yellow card by referee Chris Kendall. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/ Knowles is shown a yellow card by referee Chris Kendall. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/
Morgan Knowles is shown a yellow card by referee Chris Kendall. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/

Lewis improved his own try to give Rovers a 12-6 lead at the end of the first quarter but once again they let St Helens straight back in.

Hall drew ironic cheers when he claimed the restart, only to fumble the ball in the ruck a couple of plays later.

The veteran winger was made to pay a second time when Jonny Lomax put Waqa Blake over in the corner.

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Saints looked dangerous every time they entered KR territory but were struggling to contain the home side's array of threats.

Not for the first time, Broadbent bamboozled St Helens defenders with dazzling footwork to set Kelepi Tanginoa free, only for the back-rower to miss the mark with his pass to a supporting Lewis.

Knowles returned to find Saints on the back foot but that quickly changed as the entertainment continued.

Jack Broadbent celebrates his debut try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/ Broadbent celebrates his debut try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/
Jack Broadbent celebrates his debut try. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/

Lewis halted Joe Batchelor with an ankle tap but the away side would not be denied, Konrad Hurrell crashing over from close range.

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Saints had the lead for the first time and there were issues for Rovers to fix up defensively.

KR had no such problems going the other way and soon found another chink in Saints' armour.

The dangerous Tanginoa crashed through a hole from Lewis' pass before showing good composure to give Broadbent a debut try.

Lewis missed the conversion but Rovers took a lead into half-time and had landed a few psychological blows along the way.

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If the game was on a knife-edge, nobody had told the confident hosts.

KR began the second half with a swagger and quickly scored two tries to take the game away from St Helens.

First Niall Evalds put Peta Hiku over with a sensational reverse pass before Jez Litten finished in the corner following good work from Tanginoa and Broadbent from Lewis' high kick.

Lewis continued his good afternoon with a superb touchline conversion to give Rovers an unassailable 28-14 lead.

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A loose kick from Litten gave Saints the field position to score through Hurrell but any hopes of a comeback were quickly dampened by the Robins.

The home side lifted the intensity to restrict St Helens' metres before finishing them off with a try through unsung hero Hadley.

If ever a player had earned a simple finish it was Hadley, the tireless forward benefiting from more good work by Lewis to dive over under the posts for his first try of the year.

With Saints looking towards the exit door, Hall had the last word from Lewis' pass to move to within one try of Danny McGuire's Super League record.

Job done – and then some.

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Hull KR: Evalds, Burgess, Hiku, Broadbent, Hall, May, Lewis, Sue, Litten, Whitbread, Hadley, Batchelor, Minchella. Substitutes: Parcell, Luckley, Storton, Tanginoa.

Tries: May (8), Lewis (18), Broadbent (33), Hiku (47), Litten (52), Hadley (70), Hall (79)

Goals: Lewis 6/7

St Helens: Welsby, Ritson, Hurrell, Percival, Blake, Lomax, Dodd, Mata'utia, Mbye, Lees, Whitley, Batchelor, Knowles. Substitutes: Clark, Bell, Sironen, Delaney.

Tries: Welsby (12), Blake (22), Hurrell (27, 64)

Goals: Percival 2/4

Sin bin: Knowles (15)

Referee: Chris Kendall.

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