The Robins travel to Leigh Sports Village tomorrow to take on the Centurions (kick off 3:15pm) hoping to come away with another famous victory, as they did in April when they dumped their SuperLeague opponents out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Arguably tomorrow’s game has far more significance, with the victors maintaining an unbeaten start to the Qualifying 8’s and the losers back in chasing pack. Realistically tomorrow’s game would have been targeted by Tim Sheens, staff and the squad along with the Widnes Vikings game as the games against SuperLeague opposition that they have the best chances of winning, as well as the games against there Championship opponents.
Last week in game one of the qualifiers the Robins came out on top against Halifax but only just, and the massive collective sigh of relief echoing around KCOM Craven Park at full time was palpable. After a flying start the Robins dropped off massively and allowed ‘Fax to dictate the game and only late scores by George Lawler and Nick Scruton rescued ‘Mission SuperLeague’ nearly as soon as it had began. Defeat would have been a disaster for the Robins but they rescued the win, which in itself showed resilience and will to win that are so important at this time.
Sheens has identified the areas his side need to improve to take the spoils away from the LSV and he was particularly vocal about the need for his half backs to step up and take control of games.
Sheens started last weeks game with the returning Matty Marsh and loanee Jamie Ellis in the halves and recent acquisition Chris Atkin coming off the bench but it was the ‘Fax pivots, especially ex robin Scott Murrell who controlled things.
Since the injury to on loan Hull FC star Jordan Abdull, Sheens has tinkered with his pivot pairing with varying degrees of success, but tomorrow’s duo must be on their mettle if the Robins are to be victorious, as they are against an extremely capable duo in Josh Drinkwater and recent buy, Daniel Mortimer. Mortimer linked earlier this year with a move to Craven Park is the perfect foil for Drinkwater’s organisational and kicking skills, with his support running been top notch. His try at Featherstone last weekend was a perfect example of what he can do given the slightest of gaps.
This said for any half back to shine, the forwards have to win to win their battle, so its important that the likes of Mose Masoe, Nick Scruton and the returning James Greenwood to at least match the likes of Atelea Vea, Glenn Stewart and Harrison Hansen up front.
Chris Clarkson and James Greenwood replace Liam Salter and Zach Dockar-Clay in the Robins nineteen man squad, whilst the ‘Leythers’ name the same 19 that defeated Featherstone last weekend.
It promises to be a tough test for the Robins, but one they can pass IF they put in an 80 minute performance in front of the Sky cameras.