Salford win Million Pound Game with golden-point drop-goal

Salford celebrate

Gareth O’Brien’s drop-goal in extra-time was the only time Salford led in the match

Gareth O’Brien kicked a drop-goal in golden-point extra-time as Salford won the Million Pound Game 19-18 to relegate Hull KR from Super League.

The Red Devils looked down and out as they trailed 18-10 with only two minutes left.

But Niall Evalds’ second try and Greg Johnson’s score with the last play of normal time levelled the scores.

O’Brien’s missed conversion forced extra-time but he responded with a drop-goal from near halfway to win it.

It was a dramatic end to an enthralling game, which resulted in the Robins’ 10-year stay in Super League being brought to an end.

And it was the second time in a week that Hull KR, who did not touch the ball in extra-time, had suffered defeat to a late drop-goal, as Danny Brough’s controversial effort in a 23-22 loss to Huddersfield last Saturday condemned them to a place in the Million Pound Game.

Fighting broke out after the final whistle as Salford fans invaded the pitch at the end of the game to celebrate their side’s stunning comeback.

Hull KR in control

There was little sign of the drama to come as Hull KR dominated the opening 20 minutes and deservedly led 10-0 through tries by Adam Walker and Josh Mantellato.

Ben Murdoch-Masila touched down from Salford’s first attack and they were remarkably level when Evalds went over in the corner.

Mantellato’s penalty just before half-time and Thomas Minns’ second-half try seemed to have done enough to secure Rovers’ place in Super League next season, only to be stunned by Salford’s late fightback.

Salford’s year ends on a high

While Hull KR will play in the Championship next season, Salford’s victory to preserve their top-flight status means a turbulent year at the AJ Bell Stadium ends on a high.

The Red Devils were deducted six points in April for breaching salary cap regulations and had to settle for a place in the Qualifiers after losing their appeal.

That decision left owner Marwan Koukash considering his future at the club which he bought in 2013, but he intimated in the immediate aftermath of the win that he will now stay on.

Hull KR: Cockayne, Sio, Minns, Thornley, Mantellato, Campese, Marsh, Tilse, Lunt, Walker, Blair, Clarkson, Donaldson.

Replacements: Horne, Peacock, Allgood, Jubb.

Salford: O’Brien, Johnson, Jones, Sa’u, J. Griffin, Lui, Dobson, Burgess, Tomkins, G. Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Hauraki, Flanagan.

Replacements: Kopczak, Krasniqi, Evalds, Kenny.

Attendance: 6,562

Referee: Phil Bentham (RFL)

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