Saints salvage thrilling draw
Foster denies Rovers at the death
Last Updated: 19/02/12 6:44pm
Jamie Foster: Last-gasp penalty shared the spoils at Craven Park
St Helens dropped their first points of the Stobart Super League campaign after playing out a thrilling 36-36 draw with Hull KR on Sunday.
Jamie Foster was the Saints hero, holding his nerve to convert a last-minute penalty and ensure the 13-try encounter finished all square.
Rovers appeared to be cruising towards the points at 36-30 in front with seven minutes remaining, however Francis Meli's second try of the match brought Saints close and Foster, who had missed three earlier kicks, kept his cool to level at the death.
St Helens had opened the scoring in the sixth minute following an error from Rovers winger Dave Hodgson 20 metres from his own line.
Jonny Lomax sent Sia Soliola over from close range but the returning Foster missed the conversion as Saints led 4-0.
Worse was to follow for Rovers in their next set. Shannon McDonnell was penalised by Ben Thaler for speaking out of turn to the official 30 metres from his own line.
The full-back was not happy with something in the tackle, but Thaler was having none of it and gave the visitors another great platform to attack the Rovers line.
Play moved from inside to out on Saints' right side for Michael Shenton to score in his first game since last season's Grand Final.
Foster was again off target with his kick at goal but Saints were 8-0 in front.
It was third time lucky for Foster after James Roby did what he does best close to the opposition's line. Rovers were guilty of taking their eye off the hooker for a split second which is all Roby needed to scoot through and score with ease.
After 17 minutes, Rovers were 14-0 down. Without injured playmakers Michael Dobson and Blake Green, Rovers had a mountain to climb.
But Craig Sandercock has instilled resilience in his side, and just eight minutes later the Robins were four points in front of Saints who came to Craven Park unbeaten from their opening two games.
Dave Hodgson converted a powerplay, grounding Lincoln Withers' close-range grubber kick.
Back-to-back penalties helped Rovers move to within 10 metres of the Saints line where Withers again worked his magic to send Con Mika over for his second try in successive weeks.
Suddenly Rovers had all the momentum. An inventive kick from Craig Hall was the invitation McDonnell needed to chase 40 metres in the hope of scoring his first try in Super League.
Just as it looked as though he had run out of pitch, the touch judge was confident enough to award the try which was converted by Hall for an 18-14 lead.
On their next attack, Lance Hohaia forced a goal-line drop-out and Saints created an opening for Chris Flannery to charge through. Foster's kick restored Saints' lead at 20-18.
In a thrilling and entertaining first half, Rovers finished off in style to gain a 24-20 lead.
Again Withers was the creator with another clever kick through for Josh Hodgson to score ahead of Foster. Hall's fourth goal kept up his impeccable goal-kicking.
The second half had a lot to live up to and Saints scored twice in the first nine minutes through Meli and Paul Wellens.
Foster converted one as both tries came from drop-outs conceded under mounting pressure from Saints.
Trailing by a converted try, Rovers regrouped and created an opening for Mika to power through for his second try of the game. Hall's fifth successful goal tied the score at 30-30 with 25 minutes left to play.
Kris Welham's try in the 65th minute broke that deadlock after a fine offload from Graeme Horne.
Hall's sixth goal from six attempts edged the hosts further ahead before Meli hit back with his second try of the afternoon.
Then, just seconds before the final hooter sounded, Saints were awarded a penalty after Mickey Paea's high shot on Tony Puletua and Foster's right foot saved Saints when they needed him most.
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Tue 30th Jun
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Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield WildcatsvsHull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
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Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
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Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
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Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
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Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves