Hull KR boss Willie Peters discusses League Leaders' Shield prospects as he outlines area for improvement

Having managed to avoid the first half of last Saturday's Challenge Cup final, temptation got the better of Hull KR boss Willie Peters.

The Australian led the Robins out at Wembley in 2023, only to suffer the crushing disappointment of a golden-point loss to Leigh Leopards.

Rovers were 80 minutes away from a return to the national stadium when they ran into eventual winners Wigan Warriors in Doncaster.

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KR responded in positive fashion to record back-to-back wins against London Broncos and Leigh to leave Peters' men third in Super League as the season reaches the halfway mark.

While he accepts that serial winners Wigan and St Helens will take some budging, Peters has the ambition to chase the League Leaders' Shield after missing out on the cup.

"It's the end goal," he said.

"We're in a position where we can achieve that but there's a long way to go.

"If we meet the KPIs we set each week and consistently play with the same attitude and grit that we showed against Leigh, we'll put ourselves in a position to do that at the back end.

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Hull KR celebrate Niall Evalds' try against Leigh. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Hull KR celebrate Niall Evalds' try against Leigh. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Hull KR celebrate Niall Evalds' try against Leigh. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

"Wigan and St Helens are the teams above us at the moment and you look at how they're playing and the level they can get to but we need a narrow focus looking at us.

"Of course, you want to chase any trophy and there are two trophies there to be got now the Challenge Cup has gone.

"We're in a position where we can achieve both if we put our minds to it. When I say 'achieve both', there's still two trophies to be had and we need to go after those."

Rovers have won seven of their past nine games in Super League, with their only setbacks coming on the road at top-six rivals Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves.

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Hull KR put their bodies on the line against the Leopards. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Hull KR put their bodies on the line against the Leopards. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Hull KR put their bodies on the line against the Leopards. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

After bouncing back from their cup defeat to Wigan with a resounding win at London, the Robins kept a team to nil for the third time this year when Leigh visited Craven Park before the two-week break.

Peters views the 12-0 victory over the Leopards as a benchmark performance in KR's bid to keep pace with Wigan and Saints.

Asked what Rovers must improve on in the second half of the season, Peters replied: "The big one is consistency – and it's consistency around our defence.

"I know I've said it before but it's about making sure our best and worst are not far off, mainly our defence.

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Wigan are the team to beat again this year. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)Wigan are the team to beat again this year. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)
Wigan are the team to beat again this year. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)

"You're going to have tries scored against you and lose games throughout the season but it's always how that happens.

"We want to judge ourselves on performances. For me, we put in a KR performance in the Leigh game – it was gritty and tough.

"I want to see more of that because I know if we see consistent performances like that, we'll put ourselves in a really positive position at the back end of the year.

"We're halfway through the season after this week and are in quite a strong position at the moment – but it's not how you start, it's how you finish.

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"It's about being consistent with our defence because I know what's in this group. They work hard every day and want to be playing in big games."

Wigan's defence won them the Challenge Cup after restricting Warrington to eight points, the fifth time in six games that Matt Peet's side have limited their opponents to a solitary try.

Joe Burgess, left, has not played since the Challenge Cup semi-final. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)Joe Burgess, left, has not played since the Challenge Cup semi-final. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Joe Burgess, left, has not played since the Challenge Cup semi-final. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

When he eventually tuned in, Peters saw the traits that have made the Warriors – who now hold all four trophies – the team to beat.

"I watched the second half," he said.

"I was avoiding it but then I watched it. I couldn't help myself in the end.

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"The Challenge Cup final is a massive event. I used to watch it when I was back in Australia and to be part of it last year was special.

"There were two very good teams going at it. It just highlighted where Wigan are at.

"There's no secret to why they're so successful at the moment. They've built an unbelievable culture there over many years and Matt Peet has put his own stamp on it.

"They kept the game nice and simple. They had a plan, stuck to it and executed it.

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"In the big games, they don't go too far away from playing a simple style but it's very, very effective and how you win big games. They nailed that."

The Robins return to action this Friday against Huddersfield Giants at Craven Park, where they have lost only once this year.

Peters will pick from the squad named to face Leigh in the continued absence of outside backs Joe Burgess and Oliver Gildart.

"Joe Burgess ended up going for a scrape-out on his knee so he won't be available this week," said Peters.

"Oliver Gildart (knee) will most likely be back after the international break. Other than that, we're not too bad."

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