“We are Super League” cried out on the terraces despite Rovers falling to their first defeat in the Middle 8’s after coming up just short against Catalans.
Emotions were a complete contrast to last year’s final home league game with promotion already secured, but at the risk of being unpopular, we’ll swiftly move on.
The team showed a number of changes from the one which defeated Widnes some six days earlier, and it gave chances for some of the departing players to say goodbye to the Rovers faithful, and for younger members of the squad to prove their worth, whilst the seniors were still feeling the affects of the weekends sherbets.
Catalans started the stronger and it showed with the perilous position they were in, the desperation however was not evident until the latter stages of this contest – a bizarre truth considering the dangerous precedent they’ve set themselves. They are woeful and only a truly shocking side will lose to them in the Qualifiers and dare we say Million Pound game.
Leeds bound Richie Myler scored the opening try of the game after a Luke Walsh grubber kick, which was converted for a 0-6 lead. A period of Rovers pressure couldn’t yield any points, and Catalans managed to pull further ahead following a penalty given for holding down. The French side nearly went further ahead just before the break but the try was disallowed by the video ref. 0-8 the half time score.
The second half started strongly for Rovers. Pressure nearly brought a try only for Horne to fail to gather a kick through. Rovers did score through City of Hull Academy winger Will Oakes and Zack Docker-Clay kicked the conversion for Rovers to narrow the gap to two points.
Almost from the restart Chris Atkin kicked through for Ben Cockayne to gather and dive over it was again converted by Docker Clay – and the fairytale ending was complete for a man who has given his all to this club.
Rovers led for the first time and had the momentum. They were now full of confidence and impressive youngster George Lawler barged over from dummy half, converted again for a 18-8 lead. After some lack-lustre attack from Catalans Atkin then dropped a goal and Rovers led by 11 points.
Catalans raised their game but could not find the finishing pass. Inu dropped the ball with the line open. But finally and after so many missed opportunities Thornley then finished off a good move to reduce the gap, with the visitors appearing to have woken up.
This young Rovers side started to show signs of fatigue, 11 changes started to take effect and Williame crossed and with Walsh converting Catalans had taken the lead.
Atkin missed a simple looking penalty at the death which would have given Rovers a win, but little did it matter, with the supporters partying long into the night, and painting the KC Lightstream stadium red. They’re back in the top flight, and that’s all that matters.
Hull KR: 2. Ben Cockayne; 32. Kieren Moss, 4. Liam Salter, 16. Jordan Abdull, 27. Will Oakes; 20. Matty Marsh, 38. Chris Atkin; 33. Ben Kavanagh, 19. George Lawler, 21. Rob Mulhern; 14. Graeme Horne, 12. James Greenwood, 10. Chris Clarkson.
Replacements: 30. Joe Cator, 26. Kieran Moran, 17. Mitch Clark, 18. Zach Dockar-Clay.
Catalans: 33. Lewis Tierney; 18. Vincent Duport, 3. Krisnan Inu, 4. Brayden Williame, 21. Iain Thornley; 6. Luke Walsh, 7. Richie Myler; 8. Sam Moa, 9. Paul Aiton, 14. Julian Bousquet; 11. Louis Anderson, 12. Justin Horo, 15. Benjamin Garcia.
Replacements: 17. Jason Baitieri, 22. Lucas Albert, 25. Thibaut Margalet, 32. Romain Navarrete.