Saturday 10th March 2012, 17:05
Super League - Round: 6
Hull Kingston Rovers
Kris Welham, Mickey Paea, Josh Hodgson, Craig Hall,
Jason Crookes 3, Karl Pryce, Matt Diskin, Brett Kearney, Keith Lulia,
Michael Dobson 4,
Jarrod Sammut 4,
Attendance: 7,486 Official: S Ganson Venue: MS3 Craven Park
Full Time Report
Jason Crookes scored a hat-trick as Bradford Bulls stunned Hull KR with a superb second-half comeback at Craven Park.
The Bulls had trailed 24-8 with 25 minutes left to play, but Mick Potter’s men then ran in five tries as Crookes dived in twice, while Matt Diskin, Brett Kearney and Keith Lulia also crossed.
The stunned hosts had surged into the lead with Kris Welham, Mickey Paea and Josh Hodgson going over before the break and Craig Hall adding a fourth soon after the re-start.
But from there things fell apart for Rovers to allow Bradford to jump ahead of them in the Stobart Super League table.
Welham opened the scoring in the third minute, showing great hands to take Michael Dobson’s perfectly-weighted kick to score. Dobson added the extras for a 6-0 lead.
Rovers’ perfect start got better following their next attack on six minutes.
Shannon McDonnell, who started the game very brightly, was taken out late by Kearney after kicking downfield. From the penalty, Lincoln Withers’ reverse pass sent Paea through for Rovers’ second try. Dobson kicked the conversion for a 12-0 lead.
Crookes’ first try was against the run of play. The Bulls spread play to the right for the youngster to score acrobatically. Jarrod Sammut missed the conversion, but Rovers were still 12-4 ahead.
However, their careless play soon after allowed the Bulls to build up a head of steam.
Ben Jeffries’ kick was not dealt with properly by Welham, allowing Karl Pryce to score, though Sammut again missed the kick.
A moment of brilliance from Dobson just before half-time helped ease Rovers’ concerns. Four sidesteps left Bradford’s defence all at sea and they were unable to stop Dobson’s offload to Hodgson, who scored his fourth try of a productive season.
The Bulls, who were already missing a host of key players through injuries, lost Nick Scruton with a shoulder injury 10 minutes before half-time.
Hall extended Rovers’ lead three minutes after the interval following a break down the left from Welham. Dobson maintained his perfect goal-kicking with his fourth conversion.
Bradford had it all to do they were given hope after Crookes’ 55th-minute try, which came after good work by John Bateman. Sammut finally found his range and his conversion made it 24-14 with 25 minutes to play.
Jake Webster thought he had delivered the knockout blow but Rhys Lovegrove was deemed to have been tackled prior to his pass - which proved a crucial moment.
Bradford wasted little time in using that escape to their advantage by scoring when Crookes’ kick was grounded by Bulls co-captain Diskin and Sammut converted to reduce the gap to four points.
Straight from the re-start, Elliott Whitehead broke down the right-hand side before sending Kearney away to draw the sides level; Sammut’s conversion gave Bradford the lead.
Rovers never looked like threatening at the other end and Crookes juggled the ball over the line for his hat-trick before Lulia wrapped up the scoring after Pryce’s break on the opposite wing.
Sammut missed the conversion, but the Bulls fans were not worried as they maintained their 100% record away from home.