Sean Long very pleased with win over Hull KR as he explains how the Rovers changed the game after slow start

In Craig Hall’s testimonial, his current side Featherstone Rovers celebrated the game with a win against one of his former sides, Hull KR.

The likes of former Leigh Leopards fullback and ex-Wakefield Trinity winger Kyle Evans debuted alongside the veteran Hall in the fixture whilst Hull KR gave debuts to centres Tom Opacic and former Huddersfield Giants man Louis Senior.

Sam Luckley also started at prop after joining from Salford Red Devils.

The Robins, thanks to a lovely Opacic offload, looked dangerous early on but shortly after a Senior error, Featherstone drew first blood and Craig Kopczak followed up his try against Castleford Tigers on New Year’s Eve with another as he burst through on a flat pass to score.

Chris Hankinson converted to make it 6-0.

It being Hull KR’s first pre-season fixture showed as they let their next attacking opportunity slip with a knock on meanwhile Featherstone chanced their arm with a Hankinson kick through which Senior cleaned up.

Hull KR soon mounted some pressure which ended with a Jimmy Keinhorst grubber. Then there was a wild moment as another Opacic moment of magic saw him break only for Connor Jones to intercept his offload however Senior was soon on hand to dump Jones into touch.

Opacic was again involved in a big moment as he was fingertips away from levelling the scores and it was a missed chance Featherstone Rovers would go on to rue as two minutes away Gareth Gale scored from a lovely Hankinson offload to make it 12-0 at the break.

The new half started with a new signing in McKenzie Yei being sin binned for Featherstone but his spell on the sidelines was punctuated by a Luke Briscoe try for Featherstone after he started on the bench.

As Hull KR introduced young players, Featherstone scored twice more at the end with Briscoe getting a second and Hankinson concluding the scoring late on with the man of the day Craig Hall nailing four out of five goals to wrap up a 28-0 win.

After the game new Rovers boss Sean Long was very pleased with the display believing that his bench were key to the win.

“It was a good win against a Super League team. I thought we started quite slow and Hull KR came fast out of the traps and we didn’t know how to handle it,” he said on Rovers TV.

“They kicked early and put us in corners and defensively did well.

“Once we got to grips to the game, our bench when they came on they sped up the game and had impact and were game changers. It was good.

“To keep a side like Hull KR to nil is good, our effort, our desire and scramble was good throughout the game. There were some big plays like Gareth Gale’s try saver.

“We attacked pretty well despite the conditions but we’re still looking for improvements.”

New Hull KR boss Willie Peters was unsurprisingly less happy as he gave his verdict:

“Obviously, it’s not an ideal scoreline tonight and what happened tonight but we did graduate some academy kids, and we had some guys playing some decent minutes.

“Overall, not a good performance but it’s a first friendly.”

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