My first sentiments rest with Mr Colin Hutton and his wife Marjorie, who have both now left for pastures new.
A first season in many a year we start without the involvement of Colin in one way or another. He shall be missed greatly by so many people. I would hope that this season will be worthy of the legacy he leaves at the club.
The promised land, a dream that just 15 short months ago seemed light years away. Relegation, the Championship, reality check. No one is too good to go down, Hull Kingston Rovers are living proof of that, the team that did go down, never should have.
Fast forward eleven months and on a glorious September Craven Park day, we again regained our place at rugby league’s top table, and believe me when I say, to the relief of not only us but to many of the opposing clubs chairmen and women too. Our value to the Super League is immense and only when we were no longer there was that impact truly felt.
Sure last season, in hindsight was an enjoyable experience, Blackpool, Leigh, and Widnes were all fantastic memories but our hunger to again compete against the bigger boys was always apparent, our team retention and new mid season signings only added to our formidable team. We set our sights on the Super League competition, and in all honesty, quite easily achieved our aim. Credit to the wizard Tim Sheens, and his coaching and fitness team for that, it’s ok having all the tools but a rubbish tradesman can easily mess up a job.
So our first hit up at the start of our latest top tier escapade is three friendlies, a necessity though I have never liked them as injuries have struck us on so many occasions during these warm ups. Here’s hoping and praying we get through with a clean bill of health. The coaching team will tell you it’s all about getting a hit out, not results in these pre-season games, but I don’t buy that. I believe victories bring confidence and confidence breeds a winning culture, something that is vital to go into a new Super League season with. I want to win the lot.
Off the field credit must also go to the retail department. We start the year of 2018 off with a record breaking season of sales behind us, smashing previous best figures, amazing.
So what’s to expect this season? Top eight play-offs? The dreaded bottom eight AGAIN!? Here’s my opinion.
Some have suggested they expected more signings, and whilst writing this, I too feel we’re a little short. However I also know that it is a long season and players become available during it. Just look at last year, Jewitt, Masoe, and Atkin were all added to our team, and now with Walne and McGuire there’s another two good additions, the latter being the type of player we could once have only dreamed of attracting to our club, again.
I think Mr Sheens’ reputation as one of the worlds best proved its worth there—along with Jamie Peacock. Throw in a couple of top youngsters and I think we are ready to roll our dice. We have to aim high. And I truly believe we can look at the top 6/7 places. It’s important we keep as injury free as possible but this could be said for all teams, luck plays a massive part. I also believe we are best being fluent and attacking, if we decide to be too defensive we will come a cropper. Castleford are the blueprint and I for one hope it’s the style we adapt, after all in McGuire and Atkin we have the half backs to create, and when injury free a front line of Jewitt and Scruton / Masoe can get a roll on against teams in this division and create platforms for the afore mentioned halves to excel.
This team knew exactly what it had to do last season, and did it. Next year that philosophy will not work in spells, it’s not an easy task to up your performance one week and not another, there can be no let ups, all games must be met with intensity, fire, aggression and togetherness.
For our part we need everyone, man, woman, boys and girls to back the cause, there will be times when we struggle, that comes with playing this standard week in week out, but we must stand tall, and I am sure we will let no one down. There is a reason we are known as the best fans in RL and again we shall prove it.
Here’s hoping that we get to experience those top eight play-offs again, one thing I am sure of is my fellow fans, week in week out week out we will be there, win lose or draw. It’s a pleasure to share the stadium with all those wonderful fans, some I have seen there for a long long time.
See you all at Craven Park for what I am thinking will be a fantastically successful season for Hull Kingston Rovers. Come on you REDS!!!