Murrell’s commitment helps Rovers rule in Hull

Hull FC 4 Hull KR 21
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The Independent Online

Rovers will carry the banner of Kingston-upon-Hull into the second round of the Super League play-offs after a win over their rivals that must be their most satisfying result for decades. A Hull derby in a sudden death play-off always promised to be special and it was – not always in terms of skill and technique, but certainly in passion and intensity.

Hull's coach, Richard Agar, had no complaints. "It was always going to be a tough way to go out for one of us, but we were beaten fair and square by a better team on the night," he said.

Outstanding for Rovers was their stand-off, Scott Murrell (pictured, right), who set up their first try, scored the final point with a drop-goal and tackled everything that moved. He summed up his side's attitude.

"Our team is all about being a team, but he was great," said his coach, Justin Morgan. "We don't see him as an out-and-out stand off but he complements Michael Dobson really well."

A packed crowd saw a first half largely controlled by Rovers. Hull were not helped by an injury to their full-back, Craig Hall, which forced a reshuffle that put Richard Horne in the role, and after eight minutes the Robins took the lead. Murrell kicked for the corner and Peter Fox won the race with Tom Briscoe to touch down. Perhaps remembering Briscoe's tackle on him that won the last Hull derby, Fox could not resist ruffling his opposite number's hair.

After 24 minutes Rovers extended their lead. Ben Fisher burst from dummy-half and got a pass to Shaun Briscoe, who returned the ball to Fisher for the try. With Dobson kicking both conversions, East Hull was in the ascendant.

Rovers had a Liam Colbon try disallowed for a forward pass. They also had to defend, however. The Hull wing Reece Lyne looked dangerous.

Hull finally made a breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half, Jordan Turner scooping up a loose ball for Briscoe, who squeezed in at the corner. However, led by Murrell, the Robins then held firm, and 15 minutes from time they extended their lead with a Dobson goal after Willie Manu went high on Josh Hodgson.

Another brilliant run from Tom Briscoe raised Hull hopes, but they were dead and buried when Kris Welham swooped for the third Rovers try. It only remained for Murrell to supply the finishing touch and for the strains of "The Red, Red Robin" to drown out "Old Faithful".

Earlier, Huddersfield beat Crusaders 18-12, thanks in part to try by Leroy Cudjoe three minutes from time. The Giants had never won a play-off match before.

Hull FC: Hall; Lyne, Turner, Berrigan, T Briscoe; Horne, Long; Radford, Houghton, O'Meley, Manu, Tickle, Fitzgibbon. Substitutes used: Washbrook, Cusack, Moa, Lauaki.

Hull Kingston Rovers: S Briscoe; Fox, Cockayne, Welham, Colbon; Murrell, Dobson; Vella, Fisher, Clinton, Newton, Galea, Netherton. Substitutes used: Lovegrove, Wheeldon, Cook, Hodgson.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).

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