St Helens 36 Hull KR 24: Robins suffer as Saints grab late tries

St Helens players celebrate Aaron Smith's try.
St Helens players celebrate Aaron Smith's try.
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St Helens had to come from behind to maintain their unblemished Super League record, defeating plucky Hull KR 36-24.

It required late tries from Saints’ Aaron Smith and Regan Grace to end resilient Rovers’ late charge, but it could have been a different story if the Robins had maintained their composure midway through the second period when they leaked crucial scores.

At 16-0 the game looked over as Saints raced to a three-score lead thanks to tries from Lachlan Coote, Jack Welsby and Luke Thompson.

Scottish international Kane Linnett gave Hull KR a glimmer of hope at a time when St Helens were on fire, bursting onto a short Josh Drinkwater pass to barge his way through.

Winger Ryan Shaw landed the conversion, and was slotting another goal as Ryan Hall threw a ball out wide to Scott Oakes to finish in the corner.

Hull KR were in the ascendency, adding more points courtesy of the Drinkwater-Linnett connection again to lead 18-16 at the break.

A Coote penalty hauled Saints level, but when Jonny Lomax dropped a Drinkwater kick, Shaun Lunt was on hand to take advantage with a gift of a try, with Shaw adding the extras to make it 24-18.

Substitute Joseph Paulo set up Kyle Amor for a smash-and-grab effort that was followed by Aaron Smith sneaking over after a poor defensive read from Lunt, with Coote converting on both occasions.

Coote then chimed into the line to make the overlap for Grace’s game-winning score. A further penalty goal from Coote wrapped things up for the home side.

St Helens: Knowles, Peyroux, Bentley, Thompson, Smith, Lees, Fages, Lomax, Welsby, Naiqama, Grace, Makinson, Coote. Substitutes: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Ashworth.

Hull K R: Hall, Shaw, J. Keinhorst, Crooks, Oakes, Drinkwater, Atkin, Masoe, Lee, Lawler, Tomkins, Linnett, Hauraki. Substitutes: Garbutt, Vaivai, Addy, Lunt.

Referee: T Grant (RFL).