Hull KR defeated Leigh Leopards at Craven Park last night to move just 80 minutes away from Old Trafford with a game against either Wigan Warriors or Catalans Dragons scheduled for the Robins.
It was only by virtue of Rovers’ huge win over Leigh at Craven Park just a few weeks ago that they ended up with the home playoff match, surpassing the Leopards into fourth place courtesy of points difference.
That was crucial though as a sold out Craven Park got behind Willie Peters’ side in what was their first home playoff match since 2009, the loud home crowd cheering the Robins on to a 20-6 victory.
Leigh knocked over a penalty early on but Jack Walker and Ryan Hall tries just before half time meant the Robins went in to the sheds 14-2 up, whilst an error on the kick off and poor defensive read meant Sam Luckley extended that lead just minutes into the second half.
Josh Charnley scored his 27th Super League try of the season to breathe life into the game with 20 minutes to go but it wasn’t enough as Rovers held on for a famous win, however it wasn’t one without controversy.
There were question marks over whether Ryan Hall grounded his try, the video ref siding with the on field call, whereas the video ref later overturned a Joe Mellor try for obstruction from Edwin Ipape.
Both incidents led to uproar on social media with some Leopards fans feeling aggrieved for the second time in a week following Oliver Gildart’s controversial no try call against Wigan last Friday.
One fan joked: “Scoring a try without the ball touching the floor is a new one”, referencing Hall’s try that was given on the brink of half time.
Rival fans took aim at Leigh whose excellent season somewhat fizzled out after their Challenge Cup victory, recording just two wins in seven.
One sarcastically tweeted: “It’s a shame none of Leigh’s 53 Dream Team players played tonight. Well done the mighty Robins”
On Ryan Hall’s controversial score fans were quick to point out why it shouldn’t have stood.
“Farcical. Where’s the common sense? Hand is clear underneath on that last angle. There’s more evidence to suggest he didn’t score than did.”
Rival fans continued to joke about Leigh’s loss, plenty referencing the recorded rant from the Leopards owner Derek Beaumont in which he labelled rugby league as a sport ‘not worth investing in’.
“Here we go! Dereks gunna really threaten stopping funding now,” one fan tweeted following the awarding of Hall’s controversial try.
Leigh fans however were more upset with the officials, a number of responses to their official club account’s final score post saw fans highlight refereeing decisions.
“Unlucky boys can’t play against 14 men,” one replied.
Another lamented costly ‘shocking decisions, stating: “Proud of what you’ve done this season but hard not to feel disappointed! Some absolutely shocking decisions have cost us in the end.”