Dave Craven: Defeat at London would take sheen off Robins appointment

Hull KR's Terry Campese.
Hull KR's Terry Campese.
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IT IS fair to say it has been a busy news week at Hull KR.

Tuesday’s revelation that Jamie Peacock, 10 months after swapping his boots for a suit, would come out of retirement to inspire their fight against relegation was arguably one of the biggest rugby league stories of the year.

But then came yesterday’s announcement, admittedly after plenty of recent speculation, that Tim Sheens, the esteemed coach who led Australia to the last World Cup, would, become the Robins’ new chief in 2017.

In terms of eye-catching appointments, they don’t get much bigger or bolder. It is a real statement of intent from Neil Hudgell and Rovers to be able to attract a coach of such obvious quality.

To top it all off, current coach James Webster then filed his 19-man squad for tomorrow’s Qualifiers game at London Broncos with another surprise.

Alongside Peacock’s name was Terry Campese, the gifted but injury-cursed captain who was ruled out for the rest of the season in June due to a hamstring injury. His return if fit – and it is a big if – is like the unexpected £1m signing.

All of this after pivotal Aussie Albert Kelly was dropped for last Saturday’s crunch game with Leigh Centurions due to disciplinary reasons; Rovers could host their very own Newsnight so much is going on.

Maybe they had all just got a little sick of seeing those Black and Whites Wembley winners across the city getting all the column inches and… well, whatever the digital comparison is.

However, of course, the main news of the week has yet to even break. The only matter of real importance is securing two points at, of all places, Ealing Trailfinders in that crucial fixture with London.

For all Sheens has stated he will be in charge come what may next season, the East Yorkshire club simply now has to survive or his capture will be rendered futile.

Sheens is just the sort of experienced, worldly and cerebral rugby league man they have needed to start fashioning them into the competitive club they have so often threatened to become.

Peacock’s appointment as head of rugby was the crucial first step but getting the right man at the helm following Chris Chester’s sacking just three games into this season was critical.

They have been patient and done that now; some will argue 65-year-old Sheens, who signed a three-year deal at Salford last June after an initial advisory role, is ready for retirement but that is nonsensical.

He has worked with some of the world’s best players and commanded their respect – not just the revered Kangaroos but ask Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis who was under Sheens for four years at Wests Tigers – and will add massive value to the 
Robins.

Ideally, he was just the sort of appointment they needed when Craig Sanderock was sacked two years ago but the timing wasn’t right.

It is now. But for it to have the desired effect on them as a club, for them to to make the most of all his vast knowledge and skills, they have to stay in Super League.

And that is why, after losing to one Championship opponent last week, they simply cannot afford to lose to another.

In essence, for all there’s three Qualifiers games left, it is already win or bust time for Rovers.