Richard Agar believes Hull KR will provide a sterner challenge than their early season league position may suggest.
Rovers got a first victory with a 16-0 win at home to Bradford Bulls to add to their point gained in a dramatic away draw at the John Smith’s Stadium against Huddersfield Giants.
Although Craig Sandercock’s men have only three points to their name, they have already faced early pace setters Leeds Rhinos and St. Helens as well as surprise package Castleford Tigers in the opening six rounds to leave them a point behind the Wildcats at this early stage.
With a confidence boosting win behind them, Agar is expecting a typically tough assignment in East Yorkshire.
“I think they’ve had a difficult start to the year,” he said. “They’ve played well in a couple of defeats they’ve had and can probably consider themselves unlucky. Perhaps that level of performance against other teams would have got them the win.
“They would have been happy to get off the mark last week. They’ve got some good players in there. Weyman looks a terrific signing and although Poorey (Justin Poore) is suspended, you throw him in there will Costigan and they’ve got a lot of size, experience and go-forward.
“It’s a big challenge this week. It’s always a difficult place to go, there’s a vociferous crowd and it always makes for probably the most hostile an atmosphere you can go up against in any away game. There’s some different factors you have to take into consideration when you go to Hull KR.
“They’re a team that despite only having one win on the board, feel they’ve got plenty of wins in them. I think the coach has done a really good job because it’s a tough job. The scrutiny and pressure they’re under, and some of the external factors and issues they have to deal with on a constant basis, make them tough jobs over in Humberside. I think Craig’s always kept a really good nature about himself, stuck strong to his beliefs and produced a good side last year.”
For Trinity it will be a case of looking to bounce back from a first defeat in three games at the hands of Saints in which a ten minute second half spell proved costly after a first half showing that again provided plenty of promise for what is to come from the fledgling side.
Agar is expected to be able to call upon Dean Collis after he sat out last weekend with a quad strain and feels that he is still assessing what his best combinations are across the park.
“We thought we had a good forty minute performance at the weekend and a not so good second forty. I still think we’re in that phase where we’re still finding best combinations, what plays work for us, how we’re going to play against different styles of defence and we’re still very much on a learning curve.
“I still think we’re deciding what our best combinations are and we need to see our players play. Harry Siejka might be thrown in the mix somewhere but he’s literally had 20 minutes off the bench for us. We’ve got an embryonic halves partnership, Paul Sykes didn’t make the team last week so he may have a bigger role to play.
“At the moment, it’s finding out what works best for us, getting the guys to understand what we want and getting through as much stuff as we can in training. We’re getting there and there are improvements but after watching last week I thought offensively we were a little off the pace.
“I think we’re holding up well on our edges defensively. What got away from us last week was that we didn’t win enough tackles on our own try line. The play got a little bit quick and we couldn’t get organised enough whereas system wise we’re handling some good players on our edges.”
You can listen to the full match preview from Agar on the Wildcats Audioboo account by clicking HERE.
Tickets for the game at the KC Lightstream Stadium are no longer on sale from the club. Tickets will be available on the gate priced at £25 for adults, £18 for concessions (students and over 60′s) and £14 for juniors (under 16′s). Junior swaps are available on the day of the game.
Trinity fans will be housed in the new North Stand at the KC Lightstream Stadium and Rovers have put together this handy guide for visiting supporters on all you’ll need to know.