As the Robins welcome Mose Masoe to add considerable size and experience immediately to the current squad as they look for an immediate return to Super League, a result thirty or so miles up the road at the end of July showed that Rovers have some star quality waiting in the ‘wings’ who if they continue with their current rapid progression will form the backbone of Rovers for years to come.
The result in question was ‘little’ York City Knights inflicting a first ever league defeat on big spending, Super League in waiting Toronto Wolfpack who before yesterday’s game had scored 916 points (averaging 61 points a game) and conceded just 157 points (10 points average). The ‘Kneets’ won 26-16 much to the delight of most of the bumper 2600+ crowd.
In the York starting line up was four Robins, Liam Harris, Will Jubb, Kieran Moran and Jake Butler Fleming, along with Hull FC youngster Zeus Silk and ex Robins Academy player Connor Robinson.
The four Robins lads have had first team experience this season and have not looked out of place, but Sunday displayed that these lads can mix it with a team full of vastly experienced Super League players and come out on top.
Already a star at Academy level, Liam Harris, having graduated as Under-19 Player of the Year last season, controlled the game showing maturity beyond his years.
Additionally Will Jubb has the making of a starting regular hooker, when Shaun Lunt call’s it a day at least, and Kieran Moran is still only a ‘baby’ as a forward but isn’t afraid of anything or anyone.
The scenario with JBF is different as he as joined York on loan to free up a quota spot for Masoe and it maybe that he won’t feature for the Robins again, but he has shown in glimpses and again the opening try for York was a cracker.
For now though the Robins have an excellent young flier waiting his turn to shine, if he stays that is. Will Oakes is ready now to be a starter and needs to be given his regular chance very soon or he might be on his bike to pastures new.
If you add Joe Cator into the equation who is already playing fantastically well for the first team the Robins have the makings of a very talented young local squad, in the next two to three years.
Alongside the likes of Liam Salter, Chris Atkin, Andrew Heffernan, all still young and the experience of the likes of Lunt, Justin Carney, Danny Addy, Masoe and the like could see Rovers establish themselves back in Super League and as the youngsters gain, game time, experience and know how could again become a force within the game.
All successful sides that have ever taken a rugby field have tended to have a solid core of local home grown talent, who know what it means to wear the shirt and the pride that comes with it. Having an affinity with the shirt and the people it represents goes a long way to achieving the best.
Hull KR will no doubt be reaping the benefits sooner rather than later with the likes of Harris, Jubb and Cator pulling on the red and white on a regular basis for years to come.