Hull KR happy to maintain support role for Thomas Minns

HULL KR head coach Tim Sheens says Thomas Minns has “paid his price” and will make the most of his second chance at KCOM Craven Park.

- 15/02/2018 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Hull KR's Thomas Minns, pictured during last season's game against Catalans Dragons. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The centre re-signed for the club on Wednesday and will be able to resume playing in July after serving a 16-month ban for failing a drugs test.

Minns scored 34 tries in 49 games for the Robins before his suspension for using cocaine.

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The player revealed he was suffering from depression at the time and Sheens said: “Minnsie has paid his price with his ban, as have a number of players around the world and come back into their respective sports.

SUPPORT ROLE: Hull KR coach Tim Sheens. Picture: Tony Johnson.

“The main thing for us is to make sure we keep supporting Minnsie off the field as well as on it. His talent is to play rugby league and this time out has certainly made him appreciate that more.

“We continued to support him, by means of he had access to me and our medical and welfare teams, so we were always keeping an eye on him and supporting him.

“It just seemed natural he’d come back to us when the ban was closer to finishing.

“This game does – and generally in life – you give people a second chance and I think he’s smart enough to take it and do the right thing.”

Before that, however, KR have the more pressing matter of Sunday’s Magic Weekend game against Salford Red Devils at Anfield.

Sheens’ side are on a five-game losing run in Super League.

However, they should be boosted by the return of influential prop Mose Masoe after a broken hand.

Experienced hooker Shaun Lunt is also expected to return while, in another positive, Danny McGuire – who injured his quad in Friday’s loss at Huddersfield Giants – successfully came through training yesterday.

Meanwhile, Sheens has agreed to allow Junior Vaivai and Will Oakes to join York City Knights on a month’s loan.

Although winger Oakes has played for the club before, scoring six tries in 10 appearances as they won the League 1 title last term, the release of explosive centre Vaivai is a surprise.

The USA international, who played for South Sydney and Penrith Panthers in the NRL, has been a Robins regular this term.

Vaivai, 29, has scored three tries in 15 appearances, often appearing on the wing with Sheens’s side.

Oakes, 20, has made seven starts for KR this season, but neither will now be in contention for next Friday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Warrington Wolves.

Both go straight into plans for Sunday’s trip to Widnes Vikings as York, joint-third in the Championship, attempt to maintain their fine campaign.

Knights head coach James Ford said: “I’m really looking forward to working with Will again. He’s a very strong ball carrier with the potential to make a big impact for us.

“I’m excited to work with Junior too. He’s very explosive and can turn momentum in games with pieces of individual class. I’m confident he’ll be a very popular here.”