Sunday 2nd June 2013, 15:00
Super League - Round: 17
Hull Kingston Rovers
Rhys Lovegrove 2, Lincoln Withers 2, Craig Hall,
Jarrod Sammut, Keith Lulia, Michael Platt,
Michael Dobson 4,
Jarrod Sammut 2, Luke Gale,
Attendance: 7,259 Official: R Hicks Venue: MS3 Craven Park
Full Time Report
Bradford Bulls went down to a plucky Hull KR side who made the most of two lucky brakes to secure the points at Craven Park
Despite trailing 8-4 at the break, Rovers put in a superb second-half performance to take the spoils and banish the memory of their last-minute heartbreak against Hull FC a week ago.
It had not looked as though they would early on, though, as Bradford, one of the competition's most inconsistent sides, impressed.
Francis Cummins' men opened the scoring with 10 minutes gone as leading marksman Jarrod Sammut - their stand-out player this season - broke out of a tackle and exchanged passes with Keith Lulia before dotting down.
Rovers responded well and three successive penalties took them close to Bradford's 10 metre line. From there, a try was always on the cards and Rhys Lovegrove dragged himself over despite the attentions of Luke Gale and Matty Blythe.
Michael Dobson failed with the goal but KR were on top, short of adding points to their tally. Travis Burns' kick was too high for Alex Brown to take and Josh Hodgson knocked on when well set, so when Bradford got a penalty Sammut was all to happy to tag on an extra two.
It opened Bradford's lead to 8-4 which they took to half-time and they looked keen to extend it after the restart as Liam Salter denied Michael Platt and Lovegrove shut down Nick Scruton.
A try would come however, as with 53 minutes gone Heath L'Estrange, Sammut and Gale linked up to send Lulia in. Sammut took a blow in the build-up and Daniel Addy missed the conversion.
With time running out, Rovers needed a response and they got it when Lovegrove took a short Dobson pass to replicate his earlier score. Dobson tagged the goal to move to within two points and the home side had a first lead with 66 minutes gone as Travis Burns sent Lincoln Withers racing clear.
It gave the Robins a semblance of control and they defended in such a manner as Elliott Whitehead was shut down and, when Brett Kearney tried to force the issue for Bradford with a kick through, Dobson snaffled the ball, ran 40 metres and then sent Craig Hall clear.
Bradford's only option was to take a short restart but in keeping with their fortune it backfired as Withers picked it up and made his way to the posts unopposed. Suddenly Rovers were safe at 28-12 in front.
There was still time for another score, with Bradford giving a more reflective view of the game as they went in, Platt taking a Gale kick and dotting down under the posts.
Bulls coach Francis Cummins took some positives from the game but nevertheless knows they need to improve with matches against St Helens, Widnes, Warrington and Wigan on the horizon.
"This was a big game for us," he said.
"We are going to have to do better in our games coming up.
"We were in some good positions and we threw it away.
"I'm sick of saying we showed good character.
"We seem to get ourselves in to good position score a good try and then give them a chance.
"I thought our goal-line defence was really good and probably the best we've been.
"We needed to be efficient with the ball and we weren't."
Hull KR: Eden; Brown, Salter, Hall, D. Hodgson; Burns, Dobson; Paea, J. Hodgson, Walker, Horne, Lovegrove, Mika.
Replacements: Withers, Beaumont, Cox, Tuimavave.
Bradford Bulls: Kearney; Kear, Blythe, Lulia, Platt; Sammut, Gale; Scruton, L'Estrange, Langley, Bateman, Whitehead, Walker.
Replacements: Addy, O'Brien, Evans, Sidlow.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL).