Catalans Dragons 6 Hull KR 24: Coach Tony Smith hails the travelling Robins fans’ support and calls on them to cheer side to safety

Tony Smith
Tony Smith
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Hull KR coach Tony Smith is calling for the “eighteenth man” to carry his resurgent Robins to Super League safety.

Rovers face a crunch relegation battle against trap-door rivals London Broncos at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night, buoyed by a 24-6 victory at Catalans Dragons.

Smith believes the thousand-strong travelling support was influential in the victory in Perpignan on Saturday night and he is calling for the same support for Friday’s crucial home clash.

“I thought our travelling fans were unreal,” Smith said in Perpignan.

“They really got behind us and helped us get through the heat and the humidity and at times when we needed to defend our own tryline it was almost as if they were making some of those tackles for us and pushing our boys into place.

“We’re really grateful, they love coming here and they always come in numbers so I can’t thank them enough.

“And I know they’ll turn out in force on Friday, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t even have to ask - I know they are going to turn up and help us.

“Home support is so important. You’ve got to get behind your team, especially when they are doing it tough and it really makes a difference.

“Catalans are doing it a bit tough at the moment but you’ve got to stick together through the tough and the bad. I know the Catalans are very passionate people and they’ve got to get behind their team.”

Smith will want a more disciplined performance from his Rovers players if they are going to emerge victorious against the Broncos.

“Our discipline at times wasn’t good enough. We gave away way too many penalties so we had to work against our own discipline for big parts of the game so we’ve still got stuff to work on and while ever our boys are trying that hard they can come up with wins.

“It’s good to get the win but I don’t think it was pretty for either team tonight.

“Catalans weren’t quite at their best and we weren’t at our best either in terms of execution but we had a lot of determination.

“It was mixed emotions in terms of our performance but proud of our effort.

“In games of Rugby League you can win because of effort.”

Catalans coach Steve McNamara is wishing he could turn back the clock on three miserable defeats in a row which has ended his side’s hopes of a play-off spot in Super League’s top five.

Clearly devastated, the Dragons coach said: “I think the second half showed where we are at the moment.

“We had an opportunity to come back into the game and then conceded 10 penalties and made some ridiculous decisions with the ball.

“It’s that inability to sustain any pressure that has been the hallmark of our games in the last two or three weeks.

“It’s easy to perform when things are going your way but it’s that ability to perform under pressure, to control the game and manage the game right now as a group, as a team, as a club that’s letting us down at the moment.

“We had to go out there and perform tonight and we never did it.

“I don’t think it was lack of effort, it was just sheer stupid, ridiculous decisions made by the majority of the group.

“We’ve got two away games so let’s see what the team’s made of. Let’s see what kind of character we’ve got.”

McNamara will have star full-back Sam Tomkins available for Friday’s clash at his former club Wigan but may have to do without the services of David Mead who suffered a suspected fractured eye-socket during the game against Hull KR.