HULL KR gave their hopes of Betfred Super League survival a massive boost and piled more pressure on last year’s champions Leeds Rhinos with a 38-36 win in a thrilling game at Emerald Headingley.
The lead changed hands six times and Rhinos were in front as late as the 67th minute, but Hull KR scored seven tries to six and deserved a victory in which former Leeds captain Danny McGuire played a big part.
Both sides played exciting attacking rugby, aided by some slipshod defence, but Rhinos made too many errors and wasted some good opportunities when they had a big lead in the third quarter.
Leeds went ahead on four minutes through Joel Moon’s sixth try in three games since switching from stand-off to centre.
Rovers were quickly level as Craig Hall pounced on a poor pass from Luke Briscoe and they went in front in the next set when Chris Atkins chipped a kick to Adam Quinlan who collected and finished well.
Rovers added their third try on 25 minutes. Shaun Lunt, one of five former Rhinos in the Robins’ lineup, slipped a superb pass to Hall and Robbie Mulhern - another ex-Leeds man - was in support to cross.
Hall took over kicking duties from Danny Tickle, who missed the first two and added the extras to make it 14-4.
Leeds got back in the game three minutes later when Tom Briscoe snapped up a loose pass from Liam Sutcliffe on the last and sliced through the defence for a touchdown which Sutcliffe improved.
Hall made it a six-point game with a penalty, but Leeds scored back-to-back tries in the final three minutes of the half to go in ahead.
Rovers were looking for a fourth try when McGuire’s pass was intercepted almost on Leeds’ line by Sutcliffe. He was tackled by Atkin, but on the next play Tom Briscoe found Richie Myler and he finished superbly, stepping past Mose Masoe and Lunt.
Sutcliffe converted to level the scores and Leeds were over again in the next set. Myler’s pass found Brett Ferres and he sent Jack Walker away.
Moon made more ground and his last ball was burst on to by Nathaniel Peteru for his first Rhinos try, goaled by Sutcliffe.
There were four tries in the first 14 minutes of the second half, after Sutcliffe had extended Leeds’ lead with a penalty.
McGuire created two tries - with a pass and then kick - for Hall, who improved one to give Rovers a 26-24 lead, but then Matt Parcell and Tom Briscoe replied and Sutcliffe converted both to make it 36-26.
The tit-for-tat scoring continued when Atkin crossed from Quinlan’s break and Hall booted his fourth goal.
That reduced Leeds’ advantage to four points with 17 minutes left, but they could not hang on.
Junior Vaivai forced his way over from acting-half with 13 minutes remaining and Hall booted a touchline goal to make it 38-36 in the visitors’ favour and they hung on through some tense final moments, McGuire knocking on over the line in the last minute.