Rugby League

Josh Mantellato on the money to earn Hull KR a draw with Castleford

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Josh Mantellato converted his own try with the last kick of the game from the touchline as Hull KR snatched a 16-16 draw against Castleford in the opening round of Super League XXI.

The Tigers looked set to open their campaign with a hard-fought victory after two tries from Rovers old boy Jake Webster but Mantellato went over in the corner before holding his nerve to earn the hosts a point.

The sides had a try apiece to show for their efforts at the end of a physical first half in which Mitch Allgood and Lee Jewitt were both sin-binned for fighting.

Denny Solomona's individual try got Castleford's season up and running but Hull KR went into the break on level terms courtesy of James Donaldson's powerful effort.

Webster, a first-half replacement for the injured Michael Shenton, scored twice either side of Mantellato's smart finish to put the Tigers in control midway through the second period.

But the Australian winger's late show denied Castleford the spoils from a tough contest.

Rovers enjoyed the better of the opening 10 minutes backed by a fervent home crowd. Ken Sio raised the volume inside the KC Lightstream Stadium and it went up another notch after Maurice Blair's 40/20 got Rovers on the front foot.

Castleford held firm in the face of steady Hull KR pressure and driving rain and then hit the front as Solomona defied the conditions to dance down the wing before touching down close to the posts.

Jewitt spent 10 minutes of his 150th career appearance in the sin bin for his part in a melee which also saw Allgood shown a yellow card.

Castleford lost captain Shenton to a knee injury and it got worse for the Tigers when Donaldson crashed over on the stroke of half-time and Mantellato converted to level the scores.

Solomona was denied the chance to double his tally and extend Castleford's lead by a forward pass minutes earlier but 6-6 was a fair reflection of a scrappy first half.

The errors continued after the break and it was one by Ben Cockayne that led to the game's next try.

The Rovers full-back dropped Luke Gale's long kick and from the resultant scrum Webster sliced through the home defence to put Castleford back in front.

Gale made it two from two with the boot but the Tigers were pegged back again by Mantellato's acrobatic finish in the corner. The KR winger's conversion attempt fell short and Gale sent a similar effort from out wide just the wrong side of the upright after the excellent Solomona had gathered Gale's cross-field kick and fed Webster for his second try.

That left Castleford with a six-point lead heading into the closing stages and they looked set to see out the victory until Mantellato slid over in the corner and added the extras to the delight of the Rovers fans.

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