Galea gives Rovers a lift

Warrington 28 Hull KR 36
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The Independent Online

Hull Kingston Rovers took their chance to move within a point of St Helens at the top of Super League as the curtain came down on the code's Magic Weekend here.

The dark horses of this year's competition might have been slow into their stride and vulnerable almost to the final hooter, but a superb second-row display by Ben Galea was just enough to see them across the finish line. The game was the finale to what can generally be considered a successful experiment in Scotland.

The weather was kind, the pitch remained playable, if rather rough by the end of the seventh game, much of the rugby was exhilarating and the total crowd of just under 60,000 over the two days was in line with the League's hopes for the event.

"Planning for next year's Magic Weekend in Edinburgh will start straight away," said the RFL's chief executive, Nigel Wood, who promised that 2010 will be "bigger and better".

There was a slight feeling of rugby league overload by the time the last two teams kicked off and Rovers made a particularly uncertain start.

Peter Fox had to make a last-ditch tackle to deny Chris Riley an early try. Even then, the pressure remained on the Robins as Warrington retrieved the loose ball and Paul Cooke was penalised for holding down Chris Bridge. That pressure told when Bridge lobbed out a long pass for Chris Hicks to score in the corner and convert his own try.

Rovers hit back when Shaun Briscoe ran on to Galea's pass and dived over the try-line, but Warrington remained the more convincing side and took a 10-point lead with a double salvo. Ben Harrison's fine break set up Michael Monaghan and then Monaghan provided the final pass for Vinnie Anderson. Rovers were not playing with any fluency, but Galea was always dangerous. It was his pass that gave Michael Dobson the chance to twist his way over the whitewash and add his second goal to reduce the half-time deficit. The Hull KR coach, Justin Morgan, sent his troops out early to practise passing before the restart.

That did not look such a cranky idea when Galea popped up another telling ball for Michael Vella and Rovers were ahead. The try that stretched that lead started with Scott Murrell's 40/20 kick and ended with Dobson's pass sending Clint Newton plunging over.

The Wolves should have hit back quickly, but Bridge's pass for Hicks went into touch. Hicks was luckier when Jon Clarke got the ball to him for his second try and he added another angled conversion. But the outstanding Galea put an end to any doubts with two late tries, although Anderson's second, which separated them, briefly turned the screw once more.

Hull KR: Briscoe; Fox, Webster, Welham, Colbon; Cooke, Dobson; Vella, Fisher, Wheeldon, Newton, Galea, Murrell. Substitutes used: Aizue, Mills, Netherton, Fitzhenry.

Warrington: Riley; Hicks, Johnson, Grix, King; Bridge, Monaghan; Rauhihi, Clarke, Carvell, V Anderson, Westwood, Harrison. Substitutes used: Higham, Cooper, Blythe, Mitchell.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

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