Hull KR turned up the heat on the top 8 in Super League with an outstanding performance to blitz Warrington Wolves at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
The Wolves started this game as slight favourites despite their erratic form while Rovers tried to close in on the coveted top 8 in by following up their impressive win against Widnes Vikings last week.
The first chance of the game came the way of the Robins with back-to-back penalties giving them possession and field position close to the visitors line but the chance came to nothing after their third set on the Wolves line ended with a poor grubber kick which was snapped up by the defence.
The visitors then marched up-field but their own chance came to nothing as Ben Westwood was tackled just short of the line by Liam Salter which led to the handover.
In the next exchange Albert Kelly tried a kick which was charged down by Man of Steel winner Daryl Clark and the chance ended with Chris Hill going over under the posts in the 10th minute to give them a lead against the run of play, the conversion from Declan Patton stretched the lead to 6 points for the men in primrose and blue.
Rovers then marched to the other end and created an opening down their left but Maurice Blair’s kick for Josh Mantellato was cleared up by a well organised defence.
Another penalty to the visitors invited them to the other end again and when they earned a repeat set they had more chance to apply pressure but a dropped pass by Patton gave Rovers the chance to clear their lines again.
The next attack from the visitors ended with a speculative kick by Patton but it was well claimed by Mantellato before Wolves captain Joel Monaghan could pounce.
Referee James Child wasn’t endearing himself to the home support especially when James Laithwaite was allowed to get away with a blatant ball-steal in a two man tackle as loan man Tony Puletua closed in towards a first try for Rovers.
Warrington were getting more into their stride in the second quarter but workmanlike was the best way of describing the efforts of both sides in a very end-to-end affair in the first half with defence on both sides giving the most noteworthy contributions to the proceedings.
Eventually Ken Sio provided a piece of magic in the 36th minute after a fast cross-field move set him free from just over 40 meters out and the winger raced through to cross the whitewash in the right corner, the touchline conversion from Mantellato fell just short to leave the visitors two points ahead.
Rovers then had a second try awarded by the video referee after a kick by Kelly was caught by Monaghan but the ball was forced free after a clash of heads with Kris Welham and eventually Mantellato forced his way over in the 38th minute and then added the conversion to give the home side a 10-6 advantage at half time.
Rovers started the second half with more urgency and forced a repeat set near the Wolves line but Jordan Cox brought that to a stop by knocking on 15 meters from the visitors line.
However the home side soon forced another chance as Ryan Atkins was forced into touch less than 40 meters from the Warrington line but the resulting attack came to an end as a grubber kick from Kelly was snaffled by the Wolves defence.
A penalty for obstruction gave Rovers another attack and this time they took full advantage as Kieran Dixon cut through a non-existent defence and went over under the posts, the inevitable conversion stretched their lead to 10 points in the seventh minute of the half.
The Robins looked much the hungrier and better organised of the two sides and, with Kelly orchestrating the attack, they were making light of the absence of their talismanic captain Terry Campese.
The next Rovers attack saw a speculative kick from Kelly which Sio beat Gene Ormsby to and knocked back to Salter for the centre to just drop down and score in the 54th minute, the majestic touchline conversion from Mantellato made it 22-6 to Rovers.
A mistake by Dixon gave Warrington a chance as he dropped a high bomb under minimal pressure and eventually a quick move across field saw Ormsby slide in at the corner, Patton pushed the touchline conversion wide to leave the men from Cheshire trailing by 12 points after 58 minutes.
A mistake at the other end by Ormsby then gave Rovers another attacking scrum 15 meters from the away sides line but despite the threat Warrington maintained their slim chance by keeping them at bay this time.
A break by Dixon then led to another attack and a deft little grubber kick by Kelly saw stand-in captain Tyrone McCarthy get over the whitewash against his former club, Mantellato missed the conversion to leave the score 26-10 with just under 15 minutes left to play.
Mantellato then added a penalty from 40 meters out in the 70th minute to stretch the advantage to three converted tries for the home side.
A knock on by Warrington after one scrum then gave the Robins yet another attacking scrum close to their line and Kris Welham forced his way over from a delightful pass by Maurice Blair, Mantellato again added the extras to stretch the score to 34-10 with six minutes left on the clock.
Wolves prop Ashton Sims then gifted Rovers another penalty with a little braul which Mantellato duly converted from 40 meters out to make it 36-10 with the final act of the match.
This result will undoubtedly see Rovers deservedly head into their Challenge Cup Quarter Final at home against Catalans Dragons next week with great confidence.
Penalties: Hull KR 6 Warrington 3
Goal Line Drop Outs: Hull KR 1 Warrington 1
Man of the Match: Albert Kelly