Be honest, you didn’t see it coming, did you? That’s because no one did. There have been some remarkable and unforgettable nights over the years in the Super League play-offs, but not many can hold a torch for this one, especially if you’re a Hull Kingston Rovers supporter.
It’s a phrase that was hardly credible in January, when so many were leaning on Tony Smith’s side to fight relegation. But Hull KR is one victory away from the Super League Grand Final, and the way they have gotten to this point is equally remarkable. Sneaking into the play-offs in sixth place in the final round of the season was, in the eyes of many, a success.
Traveling here without nine first-team regulars against an almost entirely Warrington team that had started to pick up speed as the play-offs approached, one wondered if the Rovers could keep it respectable, let alone compete for a spot. in the semifinal. end. But what makes this Robins team so dangerous is the fact that no one gives them a chance.
“This is huge for our club,” Smith said. “Not many people gave us many opportunities, but knowing the spirit of this group, I am very proud of them.” They will now face off against the league’s leading Catalans, ensuring there will be a new team in the Grand Final on Thursday for a spot at Old Trafford.
For long periods here, they were under extreme pressure, but time and time again they stood their ground. Jordan Abdull, who led the game from start to finish, put the Rovers ahead at halftime with a brilliant solo attempt, converting the score to make it 6-0. Abdull’s influence on the game continued after halftime, but when his middle partner Mikey Lewis scored a remarkable chip-and-chase attempt, Abdull’s conversion made it 12-0 and put the Robins in control.
How satisfying it must have been for the Rovers fans to see Abdull and Lewis, two local players, engineer this result. But for Warrington, his season ended in a familiar abject way here. His wait for a first league title since 1955 continues, and Steve Price’s reign came to an end in the most frustrating way as he prepares to return home to Australia.
“That performance was unacceptable, it just wasn’t good enough,” Price said. Warrington worked on offense for much of the night, and when they couldn’t bring down the Robins, an Abdull penalty to make it 14-0 gave them crucial breathing space. But if there were any doubts, they were firmly extinguished when Jimmy Keinhorst scored in the corner, before a drop from Abdull added an extra sparkle to the scoreboard.
“We’re not done yet,” Smith warned in the run-up to this game. As has been the case so many times in the past, the wisest head in the game, a two-time Grand Final winner with Leeds before, has proven himself right once again. From the bottom of the table in 2020 to the brink of the Grand Final in 2021 – this is a story we are witnessing.