Hull KR Tony Smith pledges more "attractive" rugby after shock win

Hull KR head coach Tony Smith says he will continue to encourage his side’s “attractive” style after their enterprise was rewarded with a shock 34-18 win over leaders Wigan Warriors.

Hull KR's Greg Minkin goes on his way to his hat-trick. (PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

Super League’s bottom side produced some thrilling rugby to cause their illustrious opponents no end of problems on Thursday and finally halt a seven-game losing run.

Smith feels the stunning result is reward for his squad’s continued hard efforts and dedication.

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“They really deserve it and I am really pleased for them all,” he said.

“They’ve been working hard and been the whipping boys for a little while.

“We’ve been getting a bit sick of good efforts but not getting too much reward.

“They’re really excited in the changing room to go out and come away with the points as well as they’ve been trying so hard on and off the field.”

Rovers had only played champions St Helens on Sunday before facing Wigan on Thursday but a raft of changes to his side - not least including commanding half-back Jordan Abdull and livewire hooker Jez Litten - brought real impetus.

Smith added: “It’s built up a bit and it’s a combination of all sorts of things.

“We had some fresh legs and they helped us. Wigan had one more day to prepare but they didn't look as energised as us.

“I’d like to think we've been getting better as well.

“For all you completion nuts out there where up at nearly 80 per cent today.

“I’m not a completion rate nut but you get better usually the longer you go.

“I like the way we’re playing and asking a few questions and it’s a bit different.

“I don’t particularly like the new six again rule. Sometimes you get these five drives and at the back end - tackle four or five - there’s a restar so you get eight tackles and you haven’t done anything.

“I just don't like it. I don’t think the six again is rewarding good play or what I call good play in rugby league.

“The jury’s been out for me about it. Everyone has been raving about how it speeds the game up but I think it can be really boring.”

On the dynamic impact of ex-Hull FC and London Broncos stand-off Abdull, whose kicking game and distribution had Wigan in pieces, as well as the sharpness of Litten, Smith said: “They were both terrific.

“Jez right from the opening set when he made that clean break.

“I was very pleased with him and he carried on with that. Jez doesn't usually last 80 minutes but he needed to tonight.

“We had someone lined up on the bench for him but Mikey Lewis was struggling with cramp so we had to use our sub elsewhere.

“Jez lasted 80 minutes and his defence was pretty sound.

“Jordan was terrific. He had a really good kicking game, had a big influence for us and came up with some really good plays as well but there was plenty of others who came up with really strong performances.”

Winger Greg Minikin scored a hat-trick and impressive loose forward Elliot Minchella also returned to the side with two tries.

Smith admits the removal of relegation has aided his policy of trying to promote the ball more often which has come in for criticism previously for being too high risk.

But, especially against the top sides like Wigan and Saints, he said: “If we go five drives and kick we’re not going to win.

“We have to take more risks and get good at that.

“It’s an attractive way of playing. I enjoy it. We’ll keep getting the criticism…

“Some like it, others say we should be more methodical. We have to play a bit differently because of what we’ve got but because there’s no relegation as well that helps.

“Teams are able to go and try and win rather than try not to lose.

“The last time I saw good rugby league played in this country was during the licencing period. I think the best rugby league happened then and it’s no coincidence there’s no relegation in that.”