Dobson is resolved to delay his departure back to Australia

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IF Michael Dobson has one regret from his cherished time with Hull KR it is that he has never helped fire them on in play-offs football.

The redoubtable Australian scrum-half, who has proved such a talisman in his five-and-a-half years at MS3 Craven Park, knows he only has one more chance to remedy that.

He will leave for Newcastle Knights at the end of this season so knows only too well that if Rovers lose at St Helens in a finely-balanced elimination play-off this evening, his Super League career is over.

“It’d be nice to push on a bit further than we have in the past,” Dobson conceded to the Yorkshire Post, Rovers having missed out on the finale altogether last term.

“I’ve only ever made it to the second week before and I’d like to make it further than that.

“But it’s a hard road especially when you have to play every game away from home like we will be doing.

“We’ve got a few boys back, though, and if we play to the best of our ability I’m sure we’ll give it a shout.”

Though Rovers are the lowest-ranked side in the play-offs, having finished eighth, they have extra reason for optimism ahead of this trip to Langtree Park; in three meetings with Saints this year, they have won them all.

Dobson, whose tactical kicking and game management will be crucial, accepts such thinking can be misleading, though.

Saints may have suffered at their hands earlier this season, twice in Super League and Rovers also having knocked them out of the Challenge Cup during a brutal tie in east Hull in April.

But Nathan Brown’s squad have rallied of late, winning six of their last seven games ahead of this sudden-death contest and, of course, the five-times winners have a rich history when it comes to reaching Old Trafford.

Nevertheless, Dobson continued: “I’m really looking forward to it.

“We know we’ve got to take it one step at a time as it’s a massive game on Saturday against St Helens, who have most of their boys back and are playing some really good footy.

“It’s going to be a hard game and definitely the toughest one of any of our meetings yet.

“We have beaten them three times so I’m sure they’ll be looking for a bit of revenge.

“They’re playing at home and are pretty much at full strength again so they will be confident.

“But we have beaten them three times and there’s no reason why we can’t do it again.”

The 27-year-old, a member of the Super League Dream Team in 2009 and 2010, enjoyed a rare rest last week when Rovers played their final regular round against London Broncos.

It was important to keep him protected especially as regular half-back partner Travis Burns, his fellow countryman, is out, having broken an arm a fortnight ago.

Much of Rovers’ attacking ploys will rest on Dobson’s shoulders so it is understandable why coach Craig Sandercock wanted to keep him aside.

“Sandy rested a fair few of us to keep us fresh for Saturday,” added the Exiles representative.

“We’ll be ready to go, put it that way.

“It’s disappointing that he (Burns) is not going to be there as he’s had a good year and hit some form late on so it leaves us with stuff to sort out at six.

“We’ve got to roll with the punches, though, and work out a game plan what we have to enact and hopefully be good enough to beat Saints.”

Rovers also welcome back destructive Australian second-row Corey Paterson for the first time in two months.

He, too, is returning to the NRL with Wests Tigers after just one injury-hit season in Super League but has showed enough in his 15 appearances to prove he could be a match-winner.

Hull FC-bound prop Mickey Paea adds further ballast to their pack while Dobson was delighted to see England Knights centre Kris Welham make a successful comeback from long-term injury in the loss against London.

“It’s really good as I love having him (Welham) on my edge over there on the left,” he said.

“He played some good footy in his first game and he’ll be better for the run.

“It’ll be good to have his experience back in the team.”

When it comes to Saints, though, Dobson is well aware of the threats they need to negate.

“There’s Jonny Lomax, Willie Manu, James Roby is back now obviously too and Jon Wilkin as well,” he said.

“Wilkin is the heart and soul of everything they do and Lomax is not too far behind him.

“Generally they are the two main ones to watch out for while Saints are always physical so we’ve got to match their physicality if we’re going to win there on Saturday.”

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