Well, that was fucking shite.
Having relived some classic semi final moments in the week, therefore looking back at the three victories in that magic four year spell, sitting here now staring at this blank screen looking for words to describe today is absolutely grim.
We couldn’t have gotten off to a better possible start either; Stefan Ratchford’s booming kick off went dead in goal and forced a Rovers’ drop out, immediately putting Wire in the ascendency.
From the restart, we capitalised on the field position and shifted the ball left for Atkins to power his way over the line in front of the Warrington end.
It was a perfect start in every conceivable manner and you could’ve been forgiven for thinking that Tony Smith’s men would kick on and blow the Robins away early.
But we didn’t.
In typical Warrington fashion, we were bundled into touch on the very next set of six, absolutely killing the momentum that we were trying to build and Rovers visibly lifted from it.
It has been a feature of our play for the last couple of seasons. We are more than capable of playing brilliant rugby, but we are equally culpable of having brain farts. Running from dummy half down the blind side, in your own half, so early in the tackle count, the set of six after opening the scoring… it’s just unnecessary and could – should – have been avoided. These are players with big-game experience. They should know better.
From then on, both teams had a fairly even share of possession, but Rovers always looked more likely to do anything with it.
Albert Kelly’s influence on the game was growing by the minute. His kicking game was far superior to that of our half backs, while with ball in hand he was a constant threat, probing at the line, causing problems for our defence.
KR made their possession tell on 20 minutes when they moved the ball through hands to their left flank and worked a nice overlap to find Josh Montellato with just enough room to squeeze over in the corner. It still took some scoring and the big Australian did well to get the ball down.
He missed the conversion attempt from the touchline, but Rovers took the lead minutes later when Kelly’s neat kick held up in the air for long enough for Ken Sio to mug off Gene Ormsby and race home in the opposite corner.
Monetallato made no mistake from that touchline and added a penalty goal before the break to give his team a 12-6 half-time lead.
Wire were well and truly ‘on the ropes’ as they say – whoever ‘they’ are – and it didn’t take Hull KR long after the break to get the scoreboard ticking over again.
It was Kevin Larroyer who scored, despite the attentions of FOUR Warrington defenders – although one of them was Ryan Atkins, who decided the player was held before the referee did and just left the attempted tackle to get back on side. The Frenchman took advantage of the soft defending and stretched his arm out to plonk the ball down on the line.
Richie Myler seemed the most vocal as the Wire team regrouped behind the sticks and he did his best to try to drag us back into the game. He has copped a lot of criticism for not stepping up his game since the retirement of Briers and not being the commanding half back that his partner of four years was, but to his credit, he caused the Rovers defence more problems than anyone else in the primrose and blue all day.
After another Montellato penalty goal further extended the Robins’ lead, Myler pulled one try back for Wire when he dummied and crashed over from close range, then moments later it was his short ball at the line that put Currie over to get us to within two points of Rovers.
But with the clock ticking down, Shaun Lunt was the benefactor of some further soft defending when he ran from dummy half on the last tackle and, although he was knocked to the floor, nobody finished the tackle off and the Cumbrian hooker killed off any hopes of a comeback.
And that was that. A third semi final defeat on the bounce for our beloved Warrington and a long, miserable walk back in the pissing rain for the dejected Wire fans.
I’m off to listen to The Verve in the bath.