AS HE prepares to go head-to-head with him in Friday’s Super League opener with Wakefield Trinity, Hull KR’s Jordan Abdull has rated Danny Brough’s kicking game as the best he’s ever seen.
Half-back Abdull is set to make his ‘second debut’ for Rovers as they host tier Yorkshire rivals.
He played with them in the Championship while on a season-long loan from Hull FC in 2017 but is now back on a permanent deal after coming-of-age with London Broncos last season.
Given both playmakers are left-footed kickers, it is easy to make comparisons and Abdull - still only 23 - is a big admirer of the 37-year-old former Man of Steel.
“I spoke to him at the friendly we played a couple of weeks ago,” said the Rovers player.
“He's had an unbelievable career and it's testament to him and how well he's performed over the last decade.
“He's probaly got the best kicking game I've ever seen.
“Being a left footer, too, I've never seen anyone naturally kick a ball any better. “For us we have to make sure we are on our game defensively especially on the last tackle, getting around the ball and putting him under as much pressure as we can.”
KR are set to give debuts to NRL star Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Greg Minikin and Will Maher while Australian prop Mitch Garbutt could return from injury after being named in the 21-man squad for the opener.
Matty Gee, Elliot Minchella, Matty Storton and Ryan Brierley also hope to make their bows after being included but, of course, Tony Smith’s side are without captain Weller Hauraki and Mose Masoe following injuries suffered in that friendly at Wakefield as well as former Trinity back-row Dean Hadley.
As 30-year-old prop Masoe continues in his battle in hospital following the serious spinal injury he endured, the East Yorkshire club are striving to give him a lift with two points.
Abdull admitted: “In terms of Mose it's not something you'd just ever account for.
“It's not your most common injury; it's a serious one and my heart bleeds for him.
“But I think the best way to show his support is to go out and give our all, fight for him and fight for the badge.
“I think that's the best way to show we're behind him and supporting him. “That's what he wants.
“It is upsetting what's happened with Mose - and losing Weller our captain and our leader - both in the first friendly
“It's challenging but it's rugby and you have to get on with it, dust off and co0me back fighting.”
He admits his own leadership skills will need to come to the fore in light of those injuries.
“Losing two of our leaders other people have to step up and show a bit of guidance,” added Abdull.
“Being in the halves that comes naturally to me,
“I’ll definitely look to put some guidance on the lads and make sure we’re all right but it's a full-team effort and I think they have to get around with everyone and make sure everyone doing little things right and doing ok mentally as well.”
Wakefield are set to give ex-England loose forward Joe Westerman his debut and Abdull’s former London captain Jay Pitts starts his second spell with his hometown club.
Boss Chris Chester also names Romain Navarrete, the France prop who completed a season-long loan from Wigan Warriors on Monday, but fellow new recruit Alex Walker plus Ben Jones-Bishop, Dave Fifita, Tini Arona, Chris Green and George King remain sidelined.
Abdull added: “Wakefield are a quality side who are trying to right a few wrongs from last year.
“They were a bit unlucky with injuries which probably didn't help.
“But there's two sides at the bottom end of the table from the back end of the year and both probably want to get that win in the opening round to kick start their season nice and early.
“I’m really excited. Round One is what pre-season’s based on and you work hard and train hard to try to put combinations together.
“Round One sees if it's paid off.”