Theo Fages kicked the winning drop goal for Saints in Extra Time Golden Point on his return from injury, after a thrilling 21-20 victory against a resilient Hull KR side at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Saints started aggressively as we had the week previous, dominating possession and completing a number of successive sets. We were rewarded for the positive start in the eighth minute as Lachlan Coote kicked a penalty, giving Saints a 2-0 lead.
Despite a relentless first 25 minutes from Saints, it was Hull KR who got the first try of the game. Dean Hadley went over after some good play by Abdull on the left. Will Dagger added the extras, leaving the score 2-6 to the visitors.
Saints were at times wasteful in attack, but got a deserved try in the 34th minute. Some nice play from Jonny Lomax opened up space on the left and Regan Grace dived to touch down in the corner. Coote kicked a brilliant conversion to give Saints an 8-6 lead going into half time.
Saints burst out of the blocks in the second half, but with much more efficiency; Coote with a great cut-out pass out wide to Jack Welsby who ran onto the ball, before diving to score in the corner. Coote kicked another wonderful conversion from the touchline to give Saints a 14-6 lead after 43 minutes.
Welsby looked to have scored again five minutes later, but referee Jack Smith ruled out the try deeming, Lomax’ pass forward.
Rovers bounced back in the 52nd minute; a high kick into the corner was fumbled by Grace and Shaun Kenny-Dowall reacted first to touch down. Dagger added the extras to bring the score to 14-12.
Walmsley increased Saints’ lead once again, latching onto a short ball from Aaron Smith and twisted away from four challengers to power his way over to score his fifth try in six games and eighth of the season. Coote scored the extras to give Saints an eight point lead.
Rovers refused to be beaten, and went over for their third of the game in the 74th minute, as Kenny-Dowell’s pass over the top found Ethan Ryan who touched down in the corner. Dagger kicked the conversion to bring the score down to just two points – 20-18 with five minutes to go.
Kevin Naiqama was then shown a yellow for a high tackle and Rovers took the penalty, which Dagger kicked with 90 seconds to go and we were into Golden Point!
Coote thought he had won it two minutes in to extra time, but his effort went narrowly wide. However Theo Fages made no mistake three minutes later with a close range drop goal to give Saints a dramatic 21-20 victory.
Saints 13: Lachlan Coote, Jack Welsby, Kevin Naiqama, Josh Simms, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, James Graham, James Bentley, Zeb Taia, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Dominic Peyroux, Matty Lees, Kyle Amor, Aaron Smith.
Tries: Grace (34), Coote (42), Walmsley (60)
Goals: Coote (3)
Penalties: Coote (8)
Drop goal: Fages (80+5)
Hull KR: Will Dagger, Ethan Ryan, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Kane Linnett, Greg Minikin, Jordan Abdull, Mikey Lewis, Weller Hauraki, Jez Litten, George Lawler, Matthew Storton, Dean Hadley, Elliot Minchella.
Interchanges: Matt Parcell, Daniel Murray, Mitch Garbutt, Nathaniel Peteru.
Tries: Hadley (25), Kenny-Dowall (52)
Goals: Dagger (2)
Penalties: Dagger (78)
Half time: 8-6
Full Time: 21-20
Referee: Jack Smith