Hull KR can take a massive step towards a swift return to SuperLeague today, when take on London Broncos at KCOM Craven Park kick off 3pm.
Last weeks grafting victory over the Leigh Centurions must be backed up with another win against the Broncos or last weeks efforts will have been for nothing. The Robins ground out the tough win in an ugly game, but at this stage of the season and the importance of each game it doesn’t matter how you win, just win!
A 1 point win in a dogfight is as pleasing and as important as a 40 point walk in the park type win. There is no extra competition points in rugby league for artistic impression!
Coupled with last night’s defeat for the woeful Catalan Dragons on their own muck by Leigh, a win today for the Robins will see them open up a four point gap over the French bottlers and a win already secured against SuperLeague opposition. It would put the Robins in a prime position to go straight back up.
The Broncos who finished 2nd behind the Robins in the regular season know that their SuperLeague qualification is hanging by a thread already after only drawing with part time Featherstone last week and a narrow defeat to Catalans, so they will be primed and ready to start like a house on fire.
In the recent regular season game between the two it was the Robins who blasted out of the blocks so we could be in for an explosive opening twenty minutes. Last weekend Tim Sheens raised a few eyebrows amongst fans when he started young George Lawler in the hooking role ahead of captain Shaun Lunt, but it proved to be a masterstroke as the youngster absorbed the initial onslaught before Lunt was introduced to do his stuff and George reverted to the back row with the same effect.
If Lawler does start at 9 he will be up against a familiar face, with either ex team mate John Boudebza or ex Hull FC hooker James Cunningham sharing pleasantries in the front row. Sheens may revert to Lunt at hooker and switch Lawler into the back row but whatever he goes with Lawler will start. He was a constant thorn for the Centurions last week and topped the tackle count for the Robins, and in the eyes of many the man of the match. Lunt took the award for his 2 ‘length of his arms’ tries!!
The Robins half back pairing will be looking to quieten down some of the comments aimed at them in recent weeks. The attacking options and plays have been ‘scratchy’ to say the least in the last couple of games, with Jamie Ellis coming in for some unjust criticism in particular, but his kicking game last week arguably won the Robins the game, his pinpoint kick for Ryan Shaw to score came at the vital moment and his pressure relieving kicks bought the Robins field position on a number of occasions. The lack of creation from the pivots must be a concern for Sheens but as I said earlier he’d take an ‘ugly’ win any day.
It will be interesting to watch how the respective left wingers go, with the Tank on the Flank, Justin Carney likely to start for the Robins, while former Robin and Wembley bottler Kieran Dixon could feature for the Broncos.
Blessed with blistering speed, Dixon given open space in front of him is virtually impossible to catch, but as any Robins fan will testify he can sometimes be ‘inconsistent’ under the high ball and has the tackling technique of a turnstile. While on the left for the Robins, Carney if he can’t get round you will just run through you.
Liam Salter in for Thomas Minns is the only change to this weeks 19 man squad for this pivotal game in the qualifiers. Win this and with fixtures to come against Featherstone away and Widnes at home, could see the Robins home and hosed before the garlic eaters head over here in mid September.