The Robins travel tomorrow to the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium (kick off 3pm) with the criticisms of coach Tim Sheens ringing in their ears after last week’s way below par performance in the win over Rochdale Hornets.
A number of the established red and white stars put in sluggish, error strewn performances, which led Sheens to say in the aftermath “its concentration by individuals, everyone is responsible for their own carries and tackles”. “Communication is important to make sure everyone is on the same path and sometimes we stopped talking, then our defence fell apart”. Sheens was also critical of his troops discipline, at times the Robins were distracted enough to get drawn into unnecessary off the ball stuff.
Undoubtedly high on the agenda at Craven Park this week would have been to rectify these areas and use the talent within the squad to emulate the result of the reverse fixture earlier this year when the Robins put 50 on the Bulldogs, who were seen by many pundits before the season as one of the teams capable of running the Robins close if not beating them.
Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin will have viewed the tape of the game against the Hornets and seen the weak areas his side can exploit if the Robins allow it. The infamous ‘slope’ on the Mount Pleasant pitch as many a time helped the home side immensely and veteran half Dominic Brambani (pictured in the grip of Bobby Blair) knows every inch and will utilise the advantage given the opportunity.
But saying that the Robins on loan duo of Jamie Ellis and youngster Jordan Abdull are two of the best ‘out of hand’ kickers in the division and can cause havoc and get Rovers rolling forward to great effect.
The Robins welcome back Aussie speedster Jake Butler-Fleming into the squad for only the second time since his arrival in East Hull. Also added to the squad is young prop Brad Clavering but he is highly unlikely to take part in the game having played for the City of Hull academy today (Saturday) as did winger Will Oakes who scored a try hat-trick in the young guns rout of Widnes and drops out of last weeks 1st grade squad, as does recent recruit Josh Johnson. Also missing from the Robins squad are Thomas Minns who his still troubled with concussion issues and long term injury casualties Adam Quinlan and Graeme Horne.
The Bulldogs are also missing some experience from their squad as key figures Patch Walker, Wayne Reittie and ex Super League wingman Shaun Ainscough all unavailable.
Sheens will want a much improved attitude from his players that will bring an improved performance, the Robins are there to be shot at and if they don’t heed the coaches warnings they might just be sitting ducks. A focused and positive attitude will bring a positive result on that ‘slope’, anything else and it will literally be an uphill struggle.