Hull KR 12 Salford Red Devils 0: Willie Peters' side display credentials to set up revenge mission in play-offs

Hull KR celebrate Ryan Hall's try. (Photo: Matthew Merrick/
Hull KR celebrate Ryan Hall's try. (Photo: Matthew Merrick/

The Robins have reeled off four wins since backing up their Wembley heartbreak with a flat performance at St Helens, demonstrating the qualities that will be required against the big hitters in the play-offs.

The gritty 12-0 win over top-six rivals Salford Red Devils not only secured at least fifth spot but set up a revenge mission against Challenge Cup foes Leigh Leopards.

Rovers are guaranteed their highest finish since 2009 and may even fancy fourth place and a home eliminator after seeing off the threat of Salford.

The Red Devils arrived at Craven Park knowing a victory would have taken them level on points with Willie Peters' side heading into the final round but they were not given a sniff by their determined hosts.

While tries in either half from James Batchelor and Ryan Hall settled an absorbing contest, it was KR's defence that won them the game.

Rovers will need to be better with the ball when they arrive in the play-offs but there was enough in their performance to suggest they will be difficult to beat.

If it does prove to be KR's final home game of the year, they gave their fans a performance to be proud of.

Ryan Hall races over to score Hull KR's second try. (Photo: Matthew Merrick/
Ryan Hall races over to score Hull KR's second try. (Photo: Matthew Merrick/

It felt like the play-offs had come early in a tense clash that reflected the importance of the fixture.

Batchelor's well-worked try midway through the first half separated the sides at the break after Rovers handled everything that was thrown at them.

Brad Schneider, whose move to Penrith Panthers was confirmed this week, was the architect with a sensational piece of half-back play.

The Australian teased the Salford defence as he ran across the field, selling two dummies to arc through a gap before getting away a brilliant offload that allowed Tom Opacic to give Batchelor a clear run to the line.

Elliot Minchella was outstanding for the Robins. (Photo: Matthew Merrick/
Elliot Minchella was outstanding for the Robins. (Photo: Matthew Merrick/

There was an element of redemption for Schneider after bombing an early try in a lively start by the Robins.

Kane Linnett found a hole in Salford's right edge and set up the opportunity for Shaun Kenny-Dowall to put Schneider over, only for the half-back to spill the ball with the tryline begging.

Rovers had to show their defensive resolve to repel wave after wave of Salford attacks before getting the try they craved.

The Robins had little option after gifting the Red Devils field position with a series of sloppy errors.

Brad Schneider kicked two goals. (Photo: Matthew Merrick/
Brad Schneider kicked two goals. (Photo: Matthew Merrick/

Jack Walker was the main culprit in a challenging night for the full-back, Opacic bailing him out with a huge tackle to deny Tim Lafai after a mix-up with Louis Senior.

A succession of drop-outs came and went without Salford creating a clear-cut chance.

As well as leading on the scoreboard, there was a sense that Rovers had won the psychological battle in the opening 40 minutes.

The Red Devils thought they had scored when Oliver Partington touched down under the sticks but he was correctly brought back for a forward pass by Danny Addy.

Although they spent much of the half defending, Rovers were more threatening with the ball and arguably should have been further ahead.

Matt Parcell had a try ruled out for a knock-on by Kenny-Dowall contesting a high kick before Mikey Lewis was tracked down by Ryan Brierley following a brilliant burst down the left.

The Robins had a golden opportunity to open up a decisive lead when King Vuniyayawa was sin-binned two minutes before half-time for a forceful tackle on Walker off the ball.

However, the Red Devils survived the 10-minute spell without alarm as the sides traded sets in an increasingly fraught encounter.

Once Vuniyayawa returned, Parcell created a chance for himself from dummy-half only to lose his grip on the ball reaching for the line.

Craven Park let out a collective groan but the edge was taken off the missed opportunity when Rovers were awarded a penalty for a high shot.

In a central area 28 metres out, Schneider was not going to miss.

Although Salford are capable of the unexpected, Rovers were never likely to give up a two-score lead with little over 15 minutes left on the clock.

The Robins saw out the contest expertly and made sure of the result through Hall.

The evergreen winger got the glory but the try owed to a magical touch by Lewis, the half-back tipping on a pass under pressure to give Hall the chance to slide over in the corner.

Schneider's conversion attempt glanced the outside of the post but Rovers had sent a message to their play-off rivals that they are far from done in 2023.

Hull KR: Walker, Senior, Opacic, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Lewis, Schneider, Hadley, Parcell, King, Batchelor, Linnett, Minchella. Substitutes: Abdull, Sue, Kennedy, Luckley.

Salford Red Devils: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Burgess, Croft, Sneyd, Hellewell, Ackers, Ormondroyd, Watkins, Stone, Partington. Substitutes: Vuniyayawa, Atkin, Addy, Bourouh.

Referee: Liam Moore.