With the season just one round old, the first Hull derby of the season arrived as the Robins travelled across the city to take on the Airlie Birds in their home nest.
Both sides won their matches of the opening weekend, KR over Wakefield and FC over Leeds, and knew that a win tonight would lift them to the top of the table following Saints defeat to Warrington last time out. There was more than just bragging rights on offer and all the pre-match hype promised a full-blooded affair.
The game was dedicated, by both sides, to the fund raising campaign being undertaken for KR skipper Mose Masoe who picked up a career ending injury in pre-season, and who watched the match from his hospital bed.
After a fifteen minute kick-off delay the game got underway in front of a packed ground.
After just under ten minutes of brutal exchanges, Harvey Livett opened the scoring as he reached over his head and grounded on the line with three FC defenders in attendance. The decision was passed to the video official as a TRY and he couldn’t see clear evidence to overrule referee Hicks. Jamie Ellis was unable to convert.
The Black and Whites were level on fifteen thanks to a spectacular Jake Connor effort, blasting through a gap in the KR defence to make the most of a penalty awarded to FC on the KR twenty. Marc Sneyd added the conversion to edge the home side ahead.
It was end to end stuff when Adam Quinlan dipped and shoulder and went between two defenders to stretch for the line on twenty-three, for a try formed out of excellent attacking defence. Ellis added the conversion from the touchline for a 10-6 lead.
On thirty-two the lead changed hands again as Danny Houghton never gave up chasing a bouncing ball into the KR goal area and when the Robins defence were unable to deal with it, it was the FC skipper who got his hands on Sneyds grubber. Sneyd added the two to put FC up by 12-10.
KR had a try turned down by the video referee with seconds of the half remaining as FC guarded their slender two point lead into the interval.
Ten minutes after the restart a sensational try, finished one-handed by Ben Crooks, snatched the lead for the visitors. The ball went through ten pairs of hands in a rolling move over fifty metres for the winger to ground in the corner off a miss-out pass. Ellis added the touchline conversion, the Red and Whites 16-12 ahead.
It took FC five minutes to respond. Ellis hit the uprights with an attempted penalty allowing them to break downfield with Griffin busting the line before finding Sneyd who stumbled but made it over the line to ground. Sneyd added the goal, the lead back with the home side by 18-16.
Josh Griffin had a simple walk-in try on sixty-two to extend the lead to six points after he took a Sneyd soft pass. The KR defence was absent for the first time on the night and when Sneyd added the goal the lead was eight points. Sneyd added the goal for 24-16, FC edging towards victory.
A Sneyd drop goal on seventy-seven took the lead out to nine points and ensured that it would be Hull FC who ended round two at the top of the table.
In an enthralling encounter it was FC who took the spoils, but they knew that they had been in a battle royal against a very accomplished and capable side from the other side of the city. There was little to choose between them and with the lead changing hands on numerous occasions it was a couple of lapses of concentration which gifted the win to the Airlie Birds.
FC: Shaul, Swift, Tuimavave, Griffin (T), Nualago, Connor (T), Sneyd (T, 4G, DG), Taylor, Houghton (T), Sao, Lane, Jones, Savelio. Subs: Satae, Johnstone, Bowden, Fonua.
KR: Quinlan (T), Crooks (T), Linnett, Kenny-Dowall, Minikin, Brierley, Ellis (2G), Livett (T), Storton, Mulhern, Litten, Murray, Lawler. Subs: Minchella, Maher, Trout, Hadley.
Referee: Robert Hicks.