Hull KR Trounce Tony Smith’s Hull FC In Derby Day Demolition

Tony Smith’s first game against his former side ended in misery
14:34, 07 Apr 2023

Hull FC were embarrassed by Willie Peters’ Hull KR on Good Friday, who nilled their city rivals with a stunning 40-0 scoreline. 

The trio of Jordan Abdull, Ryan Hall and Mikey Lewis were lethal against a Hull defensive line that was disorganised, uncoordinated and unpleasant to watch. Tony Smith was facing the side he left last year for the first time, and his pre-match comments suggesting the sides were closer than everyone thought did not ring true like he predicted. 

Hull FC got us underway with a deep kick landing just shy of the Rovers line. Willie Peters’ Hull KR brought the intensity with their first defensive set, hurrying the returning Jamie Shaul as he received his first kick of the game and putting three players in every tackle. 

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The first points of the game were delivered by veteran Hull KR winger Ryan Hall. A solid set took the Robins ten metres from the tryline. Jordan Abdull hoisted one in the air for Shaun Kenny-Dowall who managed to bat it backwards towards Mikey Lewis, who squeezed a netball-style pass to a wide-open Hall. Lachlan Coote added the two points to make it an 0-6 lead after nine minutes. 

Rovers failed to kick on though, struggling to prevent Hull FC from applying pressure to their own tryline. A goal-line drop out didn’t make their own ten metre line as Tony Smith’s side looked to squeeze the Robins into a corner, however a handling error on the line squandered the attack, something that they have been guilty of all season. 

Hull KR got the next score of the game, with much of the credit going to Jordan Abdull’s kicking game. He smashed a bomb up in the air and Shaul tried to control it with his foot but it bounced immediately in front of the onrushing Tom Opacic, who dummied before crossing the whitewash underneath the posts. Coote couldn’t miss from there and it was 0-12. 

Hull KR extended their lead further after a high tackle from Kane Evans, and after the players were separated, Coote notched another two onto the score, bringing him up to three kicks converted from three attempts. 

Seven minutes before the end of the first half, James Batchelor was shown a yellow for a dangerous tackle on Jake Clifford, after it looked like he dropped his body weight on Clifford’s ankle, leaving the stand-off limping off the field. Potentially harsh with Batchelor getting punished for the result of a tackle, not the tackle itself. The following set saw another dangerous tackle on Sauaso Sue, and a scuffle ensued between the sides under the sticks on Hull KR’s tryline, with Scott Taylor lashing out as a result. This time the ref opted not to go for a card, but the resulting penalty was wasted with another Hull FC handling error. 

The 12-man Hull KR survived some late attacks from Hull FC, dishing out some big tackles along the way before the half-time hooter was sounded. 

Jake Clifford is set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up an ankle injury. (Via SWPix)
Jake Clifford is set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up an ankle injury. (Via SWPix)

It took only seven minutes for Hull KR to get the scoring back underway. Batchelor was unopposed as he received a short ball from Abdull, and he easily crossed the line for another try. Coote kept his perfect record from the tee to make it 20-0 and it was already game over at the MKM Stadium. 

Just two minutes after his successful kick, Coote was over the line himself for a four-pointer. Hull KR broke down the left with some simple passing, Hall finding himself clean open for 40 metres, and chucked the ball over the top of the opposing full-back to Coote in support, and the Scotsman piled on the misery for Hull FC with the successful conversion to make it 26-0. 

The game had descended from fierce battle to a training exercise for Hull KR. Willie Peters’ side had another on the 57th minute from their winger Hall, deservedly so after his assist for Coote earlier. A scrum saw Abdull reach Lewis, Lewis then found Hall on the left edge once more and Adam Swift had left too much room as he failed to wrestle Hall out of bounds. Coote missed his first kick of the day, but the scoreline still read 30-0. 

Less than two minutes later, local boy Mikey Lewis finally got to celebrate a try of his own. Abdull, Lewis and Hall combined once more, leaving Hull FC stranded and the points kept on coming. Coote returned to winning ways with his kick to make it 36-0. The embarrassment didn’t end there either. Hall brought up the fourty point mark at the same time as his hat-trick. Lewis cuts out Kenny-Dowall with a pass to Hall, who finished with ease in the corner once more. Coote missed the kick but the stands were starting to empty, with many wishing the hooter would put the team out of its misery. 

The final whistle marked the end of one of the most one-sided Hull derbies you’ll ever see. The half-empty MKM Stadium was still occupied by the Robins’ faithful who can enjoy a pleasant Easter weekend with the bragging rights.

If there was a wooden spoon handed out during the Rivals Round, then it would be the only thing that head coach Smith would be able to take from today’s game. A shocking performance, joined with a big injury to Jake Clifford could spell big trouble for the rest of the season for the black and whites. 

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