Hull KR 38 Widnes 16: Coach Chester hail forwards as Robins close on top eight

Hull Kingston Rovers v Wigan Warriors.'Rovers Ken Sio is tackled by Wigan's George Williams.'1st March 2015.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Hull Kingston Rovers v Wigan Warriors.'Rovers Ken Sio is tackled by Wigan's George Williams.'1st March 2015.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Hull KR coach Chris Chester praised his forwards for laying the platform for their 38-16 win over Widnes Vikings.

The victory kept the Robins in the hunt for a top-eight spot and closed the gap between them and the Vikings in ninth place to a single point.

Chester was glad to be able to field a stronger pack who got over their counterparts in the middle and provide space and time for half-backs Maurice Blair and Albert Kelly to create the try scoring opportunities.

“The boys were outstanding,” Chester said.

“In terms of effort desire and aggression, it was first class.

“We let them back in the game in the second half through silly errors. But the forwards laid the platform in the first half.

“It’s always nice to get some players back and I thought Adam Walker was very good in the middle. Graeme Horne was fantastic and we really stood up defensively.”

Chester lost two-try winger Josh Mantellato at the start of the second half.

The Italy international was carried off three minutes into the second half and Chester hopes he will not be out of action for long.

“Josh has gone for X-rays,” Chester said. “It’s been the story of our season. We get two players back and then we lose two.

“But there is no point in whining and we are confident it’s nothing too serious.”

Rovers opened the scoring in the seventh minute, as Kris Welham picked off a poor Widnes pass to make 65 metres before being hauled to the ground. Rovers won back-to-back penalties before Welham scored in the left hand corner. Mantellato added the extras to give the Robins a 6-0 lead.

Kevin Brown pulled a try back, before Rhys Hanbury failed to deal with Blair’s high kick and Welham jumped higher to steal the ball and feed it outside for Mantellato to score, with the winger adding the extras. Brown scored his second try, convered by Jack Owens, but Mantellato finished a flowing move to extend his side’s advantage.

Trailing 16-10, Widnes fell further behind in Rovers’ very next set. Hooker John Boudebza worked the opening brilliantly before handing the ball off to Kelly to finish in style from 60 metres. Mantellato added the easy conversion and then Ken Sio went over on the right to give the hosts a 26-10 half-time lead.

It took only five minutes of the second half for Rovers to go further in front when Horne superbly beat his defender and slipped the ball outside for Sio to score his second. Kelly took over the kicking duties from the injured Mantellato to make it 32-10.

Chris Dean’s try turned out to be nothing more than a consolation, as Rovers ended the game on top. In the 67th minute, Sio completed his hat-trick with Kelly’s conversion rounding off the scoring.

Hull K R: Cockayne, Sio, Salter, Welham, Mantellato, Blair, Kelly, Walker, Boudebza, Puletua, Larroyer, Horne, McCarthy. Substitutes: Donaldson, Cox, Green, Greenwood.

Widnes: Hanbury, Owens, Marsh, Dean, Ah Van, Brown, Mellor, Gerrard, White, Dudson, Clarkson, Leuluai, Isa. Substitutes: Whitley, Heremaia, Manuokafoa, Joseph.

Referee: Joe Cobb (RFL).