Hull FC 0-22 Hull KR: Robins take the spoils in wild Super League opening-night derby

February 15, 2024

Hull KR claimed the city bragging rights with a 22-0 win in a wild derby with Hull FC on Betfred Super League opening night which included two red cards and two yellows.

Tries from debutants Niall Evalds, who completed the win with a second late on, and Kelepi Tanginoa, plus a superb solo score from Mikey Lewis, put the Robins into a 14-0 lead at half-time and left the hosts facing an uphill battle.

That task was made harder for the Black and Whites after a red card for newcomer Franklin Pele just before the break, with fellow off-season recruit Herman Ese'ese being sent to the sin bin in the first half as well.

Hull FC were not helped by injuries to key players either, while they ended the match with 11 players on the field after Ligi Sao was sent off six minutes from time for retaliating to Hull KR's second-half try-scorer Matt Parcell, who was sin-binned in the same incident.

Story of the game

Tony Smith's Black and Whites might have feared it was not going to be their night when Liam Sutcliffe withdrew after the warm-up due to illness, then Joe Cator was also forced to limp off early.

But for all their ill luck, Hull FC were emphatically also the architects of their own demise, as a series of errors and rushes of blood to the head left them adrift at the interval.

Evalds, playing on the wing, needed seven minutes to mark his Rovers debut with the opener as he took a pass from Tom Opacic on the right and stepped inside to put the first points of the season on the board.

England international Lewis sent second row Tanginoa through a gap for the second in a move that began with an error from Morgan Smith who needlessly kicked into touch on the full.

Hull FC responded with an overdue spell of pressure, Jack Walker's high kick forcing an error from Robins full-back Peta Hiku, who was perhaps the only visiting new boy not to excel.

But errors from Jayden Okunbor and Jack Ashworth sapped most of the momentum the home side could build, and the Hull defence stood off again as player of the match Lewis skipped through again to take Rovers' lead to 12.

Hiku nailed his first and only conversion of the night before the first period ended on a desperate note for the hosts, as Pele followed up a tackle on Minchella with a needless swing towards his opponent on the ground, prompting a mass confrontation and a red card.

Cam Scott spurned a chance to reduce the deficit for Hull early in the second half after another spill from Hiku, before Rovers camped on the hosts' tryline and after Jai Whitbread and Ryan Hall were both held up, Parcell found the inevitable gap on the last to nail Rovers' fourth try.

Tempers boiled over in the last 10 minutes as Parcell was sin-binned for elbowing Sao in the ruck, only for Sao to see red after retaliating with a kick to the head.

Evalds completed the scoring in the final minute as he raced over on the right flank to the delight of the estimated 8,000 Hull KR fans in the 20,014 opening-night crowd.

What they said

Hull FC head coach Tony Smith:

"It wasn't to be tonight, and the opposition deserved it. They did enough, and we'll go back and lick our wounds and get ready for the next one.

"We let the emotions get carried away and you can't do that. That's beauty of our sport, you've got to be able to take care of your emotions and fight hard in the right manner."

Hull KR head coach Willie Peters:

"I thought our kick-chase and defence was very good, but there's some work to do in attack.

"We probably should have put more points on the board, but Round 1, you want to be good in your defence and we were tonight."

What's next?

Hull KR are back in action on Thursday February 22 when they welcome Leeds Rhinos to Sewell Group Craven Park in Round 2. Hull FC travel to Warrington Wolves the following night. Both matches kick off at 8pm and are live on Sky Sports.

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