Super League: Hull Kingston Rovers 12-18 Huddersfield Giants
|Betfred Super League|
|Hull KR (6) 12|
|Tries: Linnett, Hall Goals: Hall 2|
|Huddersfield Giants (6) 18|
|Tries: English, Mellor, McGillvary Goals: McIntosh 3|
Huddersfield moved four points clear of Super League's bottom spot after edging fellow relegation-battlers Hull KR.
The score was 6-6 at the end of an absorbing first half at KCOM Craven Park after Rovers' Kane Linnett and Giants prop Matty English traded tries.
Alex Mellor was at full stretch as he reached over to put Huddersfield ahead for the first time in the 48th minute.
Craig Hall's try set up a tense finish, only for Jermaine McGillvary to seal victory with two minutes remaining.
Two Darnell McIntosh penalties before Hall's score had seemed enough to earn the Giants a crucial win, but it was not until after the siren that the points were guaranteed against the persistent hosts.
Huddersfield's third win against Rovers this season was just their second triumph in seven games and moved them up to eighth in the table, leaving the Robins second from bottom and just two points clear of bottom club London Broncos.
Rovers lose two before kick-off
Rovers' build-up to a pivotal game was disrupted earlier on Friday as Harvey Livett and Luis Johnson were recalled from their loans by parent club and Super League rivals Warrington less than 10 hours before kick-off.
The pair had been named in Tony Smith's 19-man squad on Wednesday, only to then be included in the Wire's provisional squad of 21 on Friday afternoon ahead of Sunday's trip to Castleford.
Smith, however, said he "can't complain" as they are both Wolves players.
"I'm sure they would have liked it to have been at some other time but I wouldn't think there was anything sinister about it," Smith said.
"It doesn't matter about who wasn't there, the boys who were there tried hard."
'Not good for my health'
Losing the duo came at the end of an already costly week for Rovers, who may be without hooker Matt Parcell - a player brought in on loan from Leeds to boost their hopes of survival - for the remainder of the season because of a shoulder injury.
Still, the side that produced a stunning display last week to overcome another of Super League's strugglers, Leeds, made a strong start as Linnett pounced on a deft grubber kick from Josh Drinkwater to put the hosts ahead.
Linnett's influence, however, was short lived as he was forced off injured before the break.
English met a neatly threaded kick from Adam O'Brien to help restore parity, and it took the intervention of Joel Tomkins, with the slightest of touches on a pass from Ukuma Ta'ai to McIntosh, to ensure Huddersfield did not lead at half-time.
The visitors eventually went ahead through Mellor, and while McIntosh failed to add the extras, he did make it an eight-point advantage with two successful penalties before the hour.
Hall's try with six minutes left got Rovers back to within two points, only for England international McGillvary to settle the contest after leaping onto the end of a Lee Gaskell kick.
Giants coach Simon Woolford said the manner of the victory "wasn't good for my health" and that they "needed to find a way to win" after losing similarly tight matches this season.
"I was just praying we would get over the line," he said. "It was one of our more satisfying wins, it could be massive.
"We bombed a couple of chances and should have been in front at half-time but they got their hands dirty and rolled their sleeves up."
Hull KR: Quinlan; Hall, Keinhorst, Linnett, Crooks; Drinkwater, McGuire; Murray, Addy, Mulhern, Hauraki, Tomkins, Lawler.
Replacements: Masoe, Garbutt, Atkin, Harrison.
Huddersfield Giants: L Senior; McGillvary, McIntosh, J Wardle, I Senior; Gaskell, Holmes; Walne, O'Brien, English, Ta'ai, Mellor, Lawrence.
Replacements: Leeming, Matagi, Murphy, Wilson.
Referee: Ben Thaler