Liam Farrell got the crucial score as Wigan Warriors cemented second place in the Betfred Super League with a stunning golden-point win away to Hull Kingston Rovers; the Robins’ Mikey Lewis saw a drop-goal attempt hit the posts before Farrell grabbed the winner
Last Updated: 25/05/23 11:14pm
Liam Farrell’s try in golden point extra time saw Wigan Warriors snatch a 26-22 victory away to Hull Kingston Rovers in a pulsating Super League clash.
Two tries from second row Farrell, both of which came following runs down the left wing by Liam Marshall, helped Wigan into a 10-4 lead at half-time in the third-versus-second battle at Sewell Group Craven Park.
Ryan Hall got Hull KR on the board when he somehow squeezed his way over in the corner and was only denied a second thanks to a superb tackle from Junior Nsemba, but Marshall’s first try of the night saw Wigan press further ahead.
Despite Hall being sent to the sin-bin, the Robins fought back to lead through James Batchelor and Luis Johnson, but Marshall’s second and fellow winger Abbas Miski’s score right on the hooter sent the game to golden point before Bevan French sent Farrell over to seal a dramatic win after Hull KR’s Mikey Lewis had hit the posts with a drop-goal attempt.
Story of the game
It was an uproarious ending to a tussle full of controversy and momentum shifts, and even involved a two-minute delay early in the second half when a drone temporarily hovered over the stadium.
Victory will come as a mighty relief to Warriors, who had lost their last two Super League games and still harboured memories of a painful 27-18 loss at this same venue in the opening game of the season.
Matt Peet’s men snatched the lead somewhat against the run of play in the 12th minute when Marshall scampered clear to feed Farrell for his first, but Rovers were level when Hall burrowed brilliantly through the visitors’ defence.
Farrell responded with a virtual carbon copy of his first, again started by an incisive ball from French, and Harry Smith kicked the first successful conversion of the evening to take Wigan 10-4 clear.
Wigan extended their lead within four minutes of the restart when they pressured the Rovers back-line before flinging it out wide through French for Marshall to go over for his side’s third try.
Lewis missed his kick after the brief drone delay, and Rovers worked their way back into the game when Matt Parcell twisted over from dummy half and Lewis’s extras hauled the scoreboard back to 14-12.
Roused by the home fans, Rovers pressed again but lost Hall to a yellow card on 56 for a blatant tug on French as the Wigan full-back spurted clear in pursuit of his own grubber.
Nevertheless, the match was clearly swinging in the home side’s favour and they levelled on the hour mark when James Batchelor stormed over from Parcell’s crisp lay-off, before Lewis’s kick poked Rovers in front at 16-14.
Luis Johnson then pounced on Jez Litten’s clever cross-field grubber with Lewis’ third conversion stretching Rovers beyond one-score range at 22-14.
But Willie Peters’ men failed to deal with the kick-off, inviting a period of robust Wigan pressure that culminated in Marshall rising highest to grasp Smith’s high kick and set up a nail-biting last five minutes.
Miski powered over in the corner as the hooter sounded to level at 22-22, but Smith could not convert and that cued up the late drama which broke Rovers’ hearts.
What they said
Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet
“I thought it was a great advert for Super League. We know Hull KR are a quality team, they were the better team tonight, and it won’t be a pretty watch for things we did.
“But one thing I can never doubt with this team is their never-say-die attitude. The endeavour and the commitment of the group makes me really proud.”
Hull Kingston Rovers head coach Willie Peters
“It was a really good spectacle, could have gone either way, and we’ll get a lot of learnings from that.
“I thought at one period the game was going get away from us but we worked our way back in, then there was a chance to ice that game and we didn’t do that.
“The players worked extremely hard and I’m proud of them.”
Player of the match Liam Farrell
“It was a great way to win. Luckily it was a last-minute effort from us, it was great resilience from the boys and we got the win in the end.
“We came here first game of the year and were given a shock…so we knew it was a challenge for us coming up against a difficult team, but I thought we performed really well tonight.”
Next up is Magic Weekend in Newcastle and Hull KR get proceedings under way when they face Salford Red Devils on Saturday. Wigan are in action in the second game of day one at St James’ Park when they play Catalans Dragons. Both matches are live on Sky Sports.
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