MONDAY POLL - Hull KR 18 Salford 38: Changes on the cards after Rovers capitulate at home

HULL KR coach Chris Chester criticised his players after a heavy defeat at home to Salford left the club’s Super League play-off hopes in the balance.

Hull KR's Craig Hall touches down to score his side's second try.
Hull KR's Craig Hall touches down to score his side's second try.

The Red Devils came from 12-4 down at half-time to run out easy winners with a destructive second period when they scored six tries.

For Rovers, it was a second successive defeat under new coach Chris Chester, whose play-off hopes remain in the balance.

There was nothing between the two sides for the first quarter of the game as defences dominated.

Josh Hodgson, who looks set to play for Canberra Raiders next season, opened the scoring in the 20th minute, after squeezing through from dummy half. Travis Burns added the extras.

Mason Caton-Brown enhanced his growing reputation eight minutes later by getting round the right edge of Rovers’ defence to score. Josh Griffin missed the conversion to leave the home side 6-4 in front.

Back came Rovers with a Craig Hall try two minutes later, half-backs Kris Keating and Burns combining well to send Hall over for his fourth try in his last two home games. Burns added the conversion for a 12-4 lead.

Salford ended the first half on the attack by forcing a goal line drop out, but Rovers came up with a solid defensive stand to keep the Red Devils out.

The away side were back in the game two minutes into the second half. Niall Evalds capitalised on some poor Rovers tackling to scamper through to score under the posts. Griffin landed the conversion to make it 12-10.

Salford then took the lead for the first time in the game when Hall was guilty of trying to do too much. Running the ball out from under his own posts, he lost the ball in a one-on-one tackle with Greg Johnson.

With the ball lying free on the ground, Junior Sa’u picked the ball up and grounded it. Griffin’s successful conversion made it 
16-12 to Salford. Rovers should have levelled, but Josh Hodgson lost the ball trying to ground it.

Not content with gifting Salford one try, the Robins made it easy for Salford to score their fourth. Omari Caro made a mess of gathering a kick and left the ball behind. Griffin gratefully accepted the invitation to score and added the extras to give Salford a 22-12 lead.

Rovers lost their talisman Burns for 10 minutes after taking exception to Tommy Lee’s tackle and Rovers’ problems worsened when Theo Fages found a big gap in the home defence to score. Griffin gave his side a comfortable 28-12 lead by adding the extras with 20 minutes to play.

Griffin added to his points tally with another six points after being put through brilliantly by Evalds in the 68th minute as Rovers accepted their fate.

Salford were not finished there and Greg Johnson ran through the home defence for his side’s seventh try.

Michael Weyman’s 76th-minute try, converted by Burns, was nothing more than a consolation try for Rovers.

Chester said he made it clear to his players at full-time how disappointed he was with his side’s performance.

“We have to get better and things have to change,” he said. “I’m desperately disappointed with our second-half display. I’ve let the boys know at full time just how disappointed I was.

“I don’t know why it happened but it’s happened the last three games against St Helens and Leeds and Salford.

“As coaches we will have a look at it and find out who’s out on the pitch at the start of the second half and see if there is anything we can do to change that.

“It’s a massive concern and Salford are a good team and we gave them cheap yards and field position. We started comfortably in the first half. We were the better team, but we just didn’t show up for some reason.”

Hull Kingston Rovers: Hall, Caro, Welham, Salter, D. Hodgson, Burns, Keating, Netherton, J. Hodgson, Weyman, Larroyer, Horne, Costigan. Substitutes: Green, A. Walker, Ollett, Chan.

Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Johnson, Sa’u, Caton-Brown, J. Griffin, Chase, Fages, Morley, Lee, D. Griffin, Ashurst, Hansen, Puletua. Substitutes: Rapira, J. Walne, Walton, Meli.

Referee: J Child (RFL).