Hull KR keen to prove shock win over Wigan was no one-off

THEIR shock victory over Wigan Warriors provided a sense at Hull KR that one of Super League's strugglers might just have crucially turned a corner.

Similarly, though, there is an acute realisation that if they do not back up that brilliant win when facing Castleford Tigers on Friday they may just end up turning down a blind alley.

Tim Sheens’s side were bottom with only three victories from their opening 14 games when they stunned Wigan last week, ending their illustrious rivals’ eight-match winning run with a thoroughly deserved 24-8 success that few people saw coming.

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It lifted them up just a place in the table, but, importantly, if they repeat that triumph when Castleford are the next visitors to KCOM Lightstream Stadium they will be only a point behind Huddersfield Giants, who currently enjoy the sanctuary of eighth spot.

With seven more rounds to follow afterwards all of a sudden the promoted team avoiding the jeopardy of the Qualifiers is a far more tangible prospect.

Tommy Lee, their experienced hooker, is well aware of the importance of these next few weeks.

“To a man it was probably the best we’ve defended all season,” he told The Yorkshire Post when discussing that win over Wigan.

“That’s obviously key especially given it was Wigan and considering all the strike power they have.

Home win over Castleford Tigers is next target for Hull KR and experienced hooker Tommy Lee (Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.Com).

“They only managed to score one try and that was from a rebounding kick. Our attitude to defence was essential and now it’s important we carry that on.

“In previous games, when we’ve not quite got over the line and put all that effort in, you don’t ever then see a win against Wigan coming.

“But to get a shock victory against a side of that quality, knowing there is still improvement in us attack-wise, it lifts you.

“We know we can definitely get a few more wins towards the back end of the regular season.

MISSING IN ACTION: Hull KR's Danny McGuire. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“We’ve got quite a few home games left and we’ll be targeting all of those starting with Cas.

“Hopefully we can sneak up on whoever is in that eighth spot and we have always spoken about points difference being a key thing after 23 rounds. If we can knock off a few good wins now hopefully we do get in there.”

It would be no surprise if they did: the East Yorkshire club have consistently been competitive despite a string of key injuries, only losing by two points to both champions Leeds Rhinos and Catalans Dragons.

It is hard to judge what to expect from Castleford, last season’s League Leaders Shield winners and Grand Finalists who are struggling for cohesion in 2018.

They arrive on the back of a verbal blast from coach Daryl Powell after last week’s sobering 40-18 home defeat to current leaders St Helens left them in fifth.

But Lee, 30, insisted: “Cas don’t look like they’re a million miles off from last year. They are missing a couple of key men, but we’re expecting them to come all guns blazing on Friday.

“They look like they’ll get Greg Eden back in and we know what his try-scoring record is like, while the likes of Mike McMeeken and Michael Shenton mean they have real strike all over the park.

“Their young half-back Jake Trueman looks pretty good, too.

“We’ll need to work defensively on them, but, as we showed against Wigan, we know we can do that.

“We’re on the back of a good win and hoping to now get some momentum going.”

Lee was ridiculed by some sections of the Robins’ support when his capture from St Helens was announced last October.

However, the former Hull FC, Wakefield Trinity and Huddersfield player has indisputably proved his worth so far, starting in 13 of his 15 appearances and missing just one game.

His versatility, especially, has been crucial for Sheens, who – with an injury to key playmaker Danny McGuire – switched him to half-back for a stint before returning to nine against Wigan.

Given hookers Shaun Lunt and George Lawler are on the long-term injured list, as is Danny Addy, Lee’s footballing brain and organisational quality have been key amid all the turmoil.

He said: “It was good being back at nine last Friday; I’m really comfortable there anyway.

“I did like being back in the halves – it’s nice to play with a bit more freedom – but I don’t mind wherever I play and it was just great to get that win.”

Sheens sprung a surprise by naming 19-year-old full-back Will Dagger at half-back against Wigan, a move which paid off and could be repeated against the teenager’s hometown team Castleford.

On the ex-Warrington Wolves player, Lee added: “He’s a really confident, young player who produced some really good stuff for us last week.

“With Maurice Blair on the other side, he controlled the game and played really well while Adam Quinlan at full-back has been good for us, too.

“But Dagger came up with some nice stuff and he will be a great player for the future.

“I really like his attitude, his willingness to learn and improve, and he is going to be good for us.”

The Robins are without prop Josh Johnson, who serves a one-game ban for an intentional trip.

Joe Wardle could return for Castleford alongside Eden, but Jake Webster and Junior Moors are unlikely to be fit in time.