London Broncos 48 Hull KR 42: match report
WHEN Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock begins to work on training sessions for 2013, the videos of the last two games of this season will surely be included.
In attack, there will be plenty of positives to take, as the Robins posted 78 points against Wigan and London, ending their season with some fine tries.
But, crucially, they came away with no league points, having been woeful in defence and conceding a staggering 90 points at their own end.
With nothing to play for in terms of league positions, Rovers coach Craig Sandercock used the game to hand out yet another Super League debut.
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Winger Nick Johnson was the latest KR youngster to be given his opportunity, lining up in the back division which included Louis Sheriff at full-back, Liam Salter on the opposite wing and Chris Heil at centre.
In a side which looked more like the Robins of the future rather than the present, Dave Petersen was recalled to side, whilst Rich Beaumont, who broke his leg in pre-season at Hull, was also handed a first team jersey and made the most of his chance during two spells on the field, adding a try for good measure.
However, when it came to Rovers looking to end their season in style, they fell some way short.
The hosts raced into a 24-0 lead after just half an hour.
Helped by a penalty, Luke Dorn opened up Rovers after just 104 seconds with a clever kick which allowed Michael Robertson to give the Broncos the lead.
Rovers' generosity didn't end there, as Sheriff's pass to Craig Hall was intercepted by Omari Caro 10 metres from his own try-line. The Rovers-bound winger showed what KR fans can expect from him next season, as he covered the 90 metres with the elegance of Usain Bolt.
On the opposite wing, Keiran Dixon then proved he's equally blessed with pace as he went over Sheriff to score London's third try from 60 metres.
Chris Bailey added a fourth moments later following a deft kick by Craig Gower, who was already controlling the contest. His fourth conversion established that 24-0 lead after 32 minutes.
With more than a hint of irony, the Broncos fans chanted 'Are you Wire in disguise' in reference to the 62-18 thrashing they handed Warrington last month.
It struck a chord with Rovers, who suddenly clicked into gear themselves with two tries in the dying stages of the half.
Mickey Paea came back for his second stint and marked it with a try, powering through the Broncos' defence with purpose.
Then, Beaumont dived full-length to score in front of the KR fans, who were now beginning to enjoy their day in the sun.
Dobson converted both as KR went in trailing 24-12 at the break.
When the teams emerged for the second half, it seemed they both left their defensive structures in the changing rooms.
Gaps appeared all over and tackles were missed left, right and centre.
Caro made the most of slack tackling on KR's left-hand side to send Dixon in for his second of the afternoon.
The game had by now started to resemble a basketball match, with tries exchanged with frequent regularity.
Hall's superb break down the middle of the field drew Dorn into the tackle for the supporting Petersen to break his Super League duck.
Dobson missed the conversion before his game was to change four minutes later.
The scrum-half felt London should have been punished when Robertson scored his second, and he was sin-binned for his protestations by referee Tim Roby.
In the scorching heat, London were expected to make the most of their extra man, but it was Rovers who benefited, scoring twice in the time Dobson was cooling his heels.
Graeme Horne sent Heil over for a memorable score, before Con Mika's try, and a succcessful Hall goal, closed the gap to 36-26.
As was to be expected by now, London responded, as Olsi Krasniqi crossed, before Hull FC bound Ben Galea went over with 10 minutes remaining.
Dobson's missed conversion made it six points wasted from goal attempts, and, as has been the case on a number of occasions this season, that proved the difference in the end.
Dobson was next over to make it 42-36, before Dorn strolled through despite Sheriff's attempts to stop him.
Rovers were now throwing everything at London and Mika went over from Hall's off-load to set up a tense finale.
However, an error by Hall in the final set took the chance of victory away for good.
Scoring 42 points, but still losing the game, will be something to cause Sandercock many a headache this winter.
Because if KR want to compete at the top end next season, that area of the Robins game needs a stern examination over the coming months.