Hull KR boss Tony Smith happy for loan duo to feature in Leeds Rhinos clash

Hull KR's Matt Parcell.     Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Hull KR's Matt Parcell. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
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HULL KR head coach Tony Smith admits he has been burned before by allowing a loan player to play against his own club but will not worry about history repeating itself this weekend.

Joint-bottom Rovers head to his former club Leeds Rhinos in a crucial relegation battle on Friday night.

The visitors will field Matt Parcell, the Australian hooker they secured on a season-long loan from Leeds last month while, in turn, Shaun Lunt could feature for Rhinos having gone the other way.

Often players involved in such moves are not allowed to face their parent clubs and, with so much at stake, it came as a surprise to many that the Yorkshire sides would each allow this to happen when the moves were announced.

“That is often down to owners and I’ve had owners who haven’t wanted a player to play against his old club,” said Smith.

“But, for me, if you are loaning them, they are yours to play.

“And when you are loaning players out you want them to play.

“I loaned Nick Scruton to Hull FC (when Leeds coach in 2004) and he scored against us.

“The same year, Liam Botham scored a try and kicked a touchline conversion to get a draw against us after we loaned him to London Broncos so it can blow up in your face.

“We’ll have to cope with Shaun this week. We know his strengths and they will know Matt’s strengths.

“We shouldn’t put those restrictions in place. But it is within the owner’s right.”

Former England hooker Lunt could come in for his ‘second’ debut for Leeds who hope to further ease their relegation fears with a third successive win.

Rovers expect to recall George Lawler after he rested an injury in Friday’s 52-10 defeat at Wigan Warriors while Jimmy Keinhorst might also come back into Smith’s thoughts.

Rovers had won two of their last three games to raise hopes of rising up the table before that heavy loss at DW Stadium reminded everyone of the trouble that still shrouds them.

But Smith – heading back to the club where he won two Super League titles – is confident they can rally again and drag Leeds back into the mix.

“We’ll try and react to last week and understand if you don’t perform at a certain level those defeats can happen,” he said.

“If you wallow or feel sorry for yourself, or let it dent your confidence, it can have a long-term effect. (But) I see a real keenness from these players to improve.”

Richard Agar’s Leeds have improved since buying Australian stand-off Robert Lui, winning both games against Catalans Dragons and Castleford Tigers since he was bought from Salford Red Devils.

They are now up to ninth but still only two points adrift of London and Rovers at the foot of the table.

“He’s been a good player at Salford,” said Smith.

“Everyone admires the way he contributed there and he’s done a good job of slotting in at Leeds.

“Richard has done a good job in letting him get out there and do what he does best. That is the key to a player like him.

“Dare I say it Matt Parcell has done something similar at our place; he fits our desires and needs and is also a player you need to give freedom to.”

Agar says New Zealander prop Nathaniel Peteru is back in contention for the banned Brad Singleton and Lunt has trained fully, too. He said: “Confidence is good as you can imagine.

“We’ve had a couple of morale-boosting and certainly very spirited performances. It’s been a good way to get the week off to a fairly positive start.”