Hull KR rookie Rowan Milnes making most of his chance to shine in Super League

ALTHOUGH Man of Steel contender Jordan Abdull is understandably earning plaudits at Hull KR right now, his young half-back partner Rowan Milnes is quietly going about his business as he tries to establish himself as a Super League player.

The 21-year-old had to bide his time this season, Robins coach Tony Smith preferring to start the campaign with teenager Mikey Lewis alongside chief playmaker Abdull.

However, after they lost three of their opening four games, Milnes was brought in and instantly helped them to a stunning 26-6 rout of Leeds Rhinos.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It started a run of three wins from five matches and the former Bradford Bulls player has played in them all, looking increasingly assured after initially seeing Abdull – behind only Sam Tomkins and Jonny Lomax in the Man of Steel leaderboard – take the upper hand.

Standing at six foot one inches, Milnes is tall for a stand-off and has that languid style of another son of Bradford – Leon Pryce – or, going further back, the likes of Tony Myler and John Holmes.

Obviously, he can not yet be compared to that illustrious triumvirate in terms of talent but he clearly has plenty of skill and is making the most of his opportunity.

Milnes stepped up to Super League last season after playing part-time with Bulls but had to wait until October to make his debut in Perpignan.

Having scored his first Super League try in their last outing, the emphatic win against Leigh Centurions where he also created another try for Ryan Hall with an outrageous pass, this is his best run in the side.

REPAYING THE FAITH: Former Bradford Bulls youngster Rowan Milnes has impressed at Hull KR. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Milnes, given licence to roam on either side of the pitch by Smith, hopes to continue in the same vein when Rovers host Salford Red Devils on Friday.

He said: “I am loving it. Obviously, being a young lad, sometimes you do have to be patient and, at the start of the season the boys were doing well.

“You sometimes have to just sit there, keep doing your extras after training and working hard but I got my chance a few weeks back.

“Tony has shown faith in me keeping me in the team since and now I just want to repay that faith he’s shown.”

RUNNING MAN: Rowan Milnes scores the opening try for Bradford Bulls against Halifax in the 2019 Challenge Cup. Picture:Jonathan Gawthorpe

Milnes is relishing working under former Leeds, England and Great Britain stand-off Danny McGuire who is now assistant coach at Hull College Craven Park.

“That has been unreal,” he said.

“He’s great for all the little details you probably don’t think about day to day.

“After we finish training, I’ll pull him as often as I can and just try and pick his brain on different stuff.

DECISION-MAKER: Hull KR head coach, Tony Smith. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“It’s all the little details in my game that he has brought along.”

The aim now for Milnes – who arrived as part of a deal that saw KR pay for him plus Bulls colleagues Joe Keyes, Elliot Minchella, Matty Storton and Anesu Mudoti – is to cement his place.

Lewis was recalled from a month-long loan at York City Knights yesterday while Keyes is also waiting in the wings.

But Milnes, who memorably helped Bradford shock Leeds in the Challenge Cup three years ago, said: “Ever since you’re a kid you want to become a Super League player.

“You aspire to get to this stage. Since I came here I’ve felt part of the squad and when you’re working hard and training hard, it’s nice to get a run in the team like this.

“Playing at the top level in England is what I’ve always dreamt of doing.”

Which is why he is so happy to see the recent U-turn by the RFL over the elite academy status of not only Rovers but his former club Bulls and Castleford Tigers.

Initially, the governing body ruled the trio of clubs would not retain their elite licence for 2022-2027.

However, a huge backlash from all sections of the sport eventually saw the RFL change their minds and award ‘probationary’ elite licences for the next two years at least.

Milnes said: “It’s massive. There were five of us lads who came here from Bradford (three academy products) and you just look at the track record of these clubs and the players that have come through.

“It’s crucial that these kids in these areas get the opportunity to represent their hometown clubs.

“Coming through at Bradford, being a homegrown lad, I grew up on the terraces watching Bulls.

“It is important that those players, coming through at their local clubs, get the opportunity to represent their hometown team and come through as a professional.”

Meanwhile, Rovers yesterday agreed to allow Will Dagger to join Featherstone Rovers on a two-week loan deal.

The full-back, 22, has yet to feature this season due to Adam Quinlan being ever-present and no reserve grade and Smith said it was important more players got some action wherever possible.

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.