We’re not even 30 minutes into the Challenge Cup Final but there has been a lot of controversy already as Leigh Leopards and Hull KR collide.
Hull KR could have take a 12-2 lead when a penalty try in a notable incident. After a Tom Briscoe error, the ball broke free and it was chased by Tom Opacic who kicked ahead and could have scooped up the ball and scored.
But as Lachlan Lam dived for the ball, Opacic lost his footing unable to capitalise.
Hull KR wanted a penalty try and the decision was referred to the video referee Liam Moore who deemed that the contact was in fact accidental.
The Leopards started strongly making in roads through the middle of Hull KR’s defence and winning a penalty after a high tackle from Rhys Kennedy on Tom Amone.
Hull KR withstood the pressure from the Leopards and as they came away from their own end John Asiata dived at a Hull KR players’ legs to effect a tackle.
Elliot Minchella took except to the incident and started a minor scrap with plenty of pushing and shoving.
Hull KR were penalised and Ben Reynolds kicked the goal to make it 2-0.
Asiata’s tackle technique has been under major scrutiny lately after the semi-final win over St Helens.
That day Asiata injured four St Helens stars with low tackles. Morgan Knowles suffered a knock, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook was out for nearly a month and the seasons of Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi were ended.
There has been a lot of focus on Asiata since and it was that which led to Minchella.
Some may suggest the tackle should have been punished. But what did official Chris Kendall have to say:
“There’s nothing illegal about the tackle technique,” he could be heard on BBC.
“The incident is caused when Elliot Minchella runs over and starts pushing so it’s a penalty against you [Hull KR.]”
Hull KR responded to this early controversy with a try. Minchella was the man that made it with a break up the middle and the try was finished off by Jez Litten in support going under the sticks.
Brad Schneider’s conversion made it 6-2 to the Robins. It so far has been a nervy but very good Challenge Cup Final.
However, Leigh responded with a similar try as Kai O’Donnell carved through and found Lachlan Lam in support.