Super League: Krisnan Inu's Golden Point drop-goal helps Salford sneak third place by beating Hull KR
|Betfred Super League|
|Salford (4) 17|
|Tries: Bibby, Lolohea, Lussick Goals: Inu 2 Drop goal: Inu|
|Hull KR (8) 16|
|Tries: Drinkwater, Linnett Goals: Shaw 4|
Salford winger Krisnan Inu kicked a golden point drop-goal to help Salford clinch third place in Super League by beating Hull KR, who lost but survived the drop on points difference.
London Broncos' loss at Wakefield kept Rovers up on a night when rugby league legend Danny McGuire bowed out.
Rovers led 16-10 but were again hit by a late blow when Joey Lussick's try took to the game to extra time.
Inu landed the winning drop-goal, but, by then, Rovers knew they were safe.
Salford's win, and Warrington's defeat at Leeds, earned the Red Devils their first Super League top-three finish - to set up a 'second v third' Qualifying Final next Friday night, when they will visit reigning champions Wigan.
Former Grand Final winner Lee Mossop and hooker Logan Tomkins will be back at the cub where they stated - although Salford head coach Ian Watson revealed after the game that it may be Tomkins' last game, as he will be moving elsewhere at the end of the season.
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It was a real up and down evening for McGuire, on the night he bowed out of the game he has graced.
It was the former Leeds, England and Great Britain half-back's halfway line break which paved the way for Kyle Trout to give the pass for the opening score from Josh Drinkwater, with Ryan Shaw adding the goal.
But on the half-hour mark, McGuire was sin-binned for throwing the ball away after an offside call and, two minutes later, Salford scored.
Hastings set up Jake Bibby's try, only for Inu to miss the kick and that was compounded when Shaw kicked a Rovers penalty for an 8-4 half-time lead.
Tui Lolohea's try made it 8-8 only for Inu to again miss the kick, but he then did land a penalty to make it 10-8.
Kane Linnett's try and Shaw's conversion put the Robins back in front at 14-10 - and they had a six-point cushion when Shaw added a penalty.
But Lussick crossed with a minute left, Inu added the extras - and he then added that all important one-pointer.
Rovers hang on by the skin of their teeth
Since returning to Super League at the first attempt in 2018, Hull KR have won just 18 of their 52 regular-season games.
Following the sacking of Tim Sheens, the mid-season arrival of former Super League-winning coach Tony Smith gave the Robins an upsurge.
In his first game, they were beaten only by a late Sam Powell drop-goal before then winning at home to Warrington a week later.
The still classy McGuire has had some inspirational moments since his arrival from Leeds - and will be missed.
But Rovers have too often failed when it matters most - and in the end have stayed up only on their superior points difference to London Broncos.
A week ago, they were just three minutes from safety, only to get stung at home by the Broncos.
This time they were a minute away from victory when Lussick scored. And that is something which Smith, already secure on a new three-year contract, needs putting right next season.
Salford head coach Ian Watson:
"Both teams probably got what they wanted out of tonight. Hull KR were really composed in the first half playing the right game. And, at half-time, we spoke about the need to mirror them.
"We go to Wigan now. We are probably the form teams in the competition. I'm really excited for us to go there and see what we can do.
"Everyone wrote us off at the start of this season as the team along with London Broncos that would be relegated. People didn't expect us to be here.
"But it has been an outstanding season from the players and the backroom staff. And we're confident we can cause teams a few problems."
Hull KR head coach Tony Smith told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:
"It would have been nice to win because we should have probably have closed the game out. There was a lot of effort from a lot of players.
"We didn't win, we blew it in the last minute of the regular match and I'm really disappointed to let that try in, but jeez we fought hard.
"I'm really grateful to Wakefield - they got the job done that we probably should have done last week.
"We want to become a strong club and not be in this scrap each and every year. Even if we'd have gone down, I'd still have been excited about our future. We'll get there."
Salford: Evalds; Sio, Welham, Bibby, Inu; Lolohea, Hastings; Walker, Tomkins, Mossop, Griffin, Jones, Burke.
Interchanges: Lussick, Nakubuwai, J Johnson, Lannon.
Hull KR: Quinlan; Hall, Crooks, Linnett, Shaw; McGuire, Drinkwater; Trout, Parcell, Murray, Hadley, Hauraki, Mulhern.
Interchanges: Addy, Masoe, Atkin, Lawler.
Sin bin: McGuire (33, dissent)
Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL)