Hull KR v Castleford Tigers: Daryl Powell says his side must match ‘desperation’ of the Robins

IT may be 11th against fifth in Super League, but Hull Kingston Rovers are due a win when they play host to Castleford Tigers tomorrow.

Tony Smith: Believes his players are refreshed. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

It will be Rovers’ eighth match since Tony Smith took over as coach in June and so far his results have fallen into a pattern of defeat followed by victory.

The Robins were beaten 18-12 at home by fellow relegation battlers Huddersfield Giants last time out, two weeks ago, so if the sequence continues they will pick up two precious points which could edge them closer to top-flight survival.

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Smith, of course, understands it is not as straightforward as that, with his team facing visitors who are looking to strengthen their hold on a place in the play-offs.

Castleford have won their last two games, after going from March until July without recording back-to-back victories and both sides will be fresh, having had no game last weekend.

For Rovers in particular, with a relatively new coach and some incoming players, the break from match action was welcome.

“We have had a good mix of fix-up and preparation as well as a bit of getting together and doing some things that are a bit different,” revealed Smith.

“We have spent quite a bit of time together and I think that’s a good thing.

“The boys have been good for the last couple of weeks. We’ve done a training session at the beach as well as getting away from a bit of rugby and spending some time together with the families.

“We had a 10-pin bowling day with the families. While trying to take care of the rugby, there’s other aspects of our lives and careers that need to be taken care of as well.”

For all teams in the relegation scrap, the key to survival is finding some consistent form.

Two or three successive wins would almost certainly be enough and Smith admitted: “That has been part of our season, not being able to put two games together enough to win games.

“That is one of the challenges in front of us that we’d like to accomplish.”

It is a similar situation at the top of the table where, other than runaway leaders St Helens, none of the leading lights have been totally convincing over a long period.

“They have suffered inconsistencies throughout the season as well,” Smith added of Castleford.

“But they have done well in the last couple of games and that makes it an extra challenge for us.

“We know runs of success can come, but they can easily leave you as well.

“That is the way Super League is.

“Just because you’ve had some good form doesn’t mean it is necessarily going to be there again.

“We have got to make sure our good form start this week and at the same time do our best to break their run of form.

“That is up to us as well as up to them.”

Forwards Dean Hadley and Jez Litten are both poised to make their debut after joining Rovers this week from Hull.

“They’ve been good,” said Smith of the duo who are initially on loan and will begin three-year contracts next season.

“They are nice lads and they are itching to do well. Both of them are looking for opportunities and we are able to give them those opportunities so it’s a real positive thing for all of us.”

Castleford coach Daryl Powell is adamant his side have what it takes to be Grand Final winners and feels their form is picking up at exactly the right time.

“We have won three out of the last four games,” Powell pointed out.

“London came up to play us on the back of a really good run and we were really good and really intense in that game.

“We had a bit of a dip the week after against Leeds, then we were pretty strong, I thought, against Wakefield and we played Warrington and beat them.

“People talk about form guides and three from four is a decent run.

“It is something we speak about a lot and we have got a good opportunity to build on that.

“As a result of that, this is a really key game for us.”

Tigers chief Powell says he believes it is crucial his men match Hull KR’s “desperation” tomorrow.

While the Robins need points in their battle against the drop, Powell insisted his side have just as much to play for.

He said: “It’s momentum and consistency – we have been talking about that for a few weeks now. We have got an opportunity. Clearly they are a desperate team we will be playing against, but we are also desperate to be in the top-five.

“We need to show that in our performance. I have asked the players ‘what do we want to be, what do we want to do this year?’

“I think the Grand Final is wide open and we have a chance of being there.

“That has got to create a desperation and an intensity that drives us for the remainder for the season.”