Hull KR v Catalans Dragons: Willie Peters seeking retribution for bruising defeats

Willie Peters has warned Catalans Dragons that Hull KR are seeking retribution for two painful beatings in Perpignan.

The Robins lost 26-12 at Stade Gilbert Brutus in March and were hammered 34-8 on their return trip three months later.

On both occasions, Rovers returned home with casualties after being left battered and bruised by the physical French outfit.

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A week on from gaining a modicum of revenge for their Challenge Cup final defeat against Leigh Leopards, Peters' men are chasing another statement win in their quest for the play-offs.

"I said a few weeks ago before the final that I was going to learn a lot about where we're at and who we are as a team – and in particular I meant the Leigh game and the Catalans game," said Peters ahead of tonight's date with the Super League table-toppers.

"The Leigh game because whether we'd won the cup or lost the cup, you're playing that team again two weeks later and it was going to be an interesting game to see how we'd respond.

"And then the Catalans game because we've had two heavy defeats against them. They've outplayed us both times and been far more aggressive than us.

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"We've gone there twice this year and have come back with our tail between our legs because they really put it to us.

Catalans have beaten Hull KR twice already this year. (Photo: Rémi Vignaud/Catalans Dragons/SWpix.com)Catalans have beaten Hull KR twice already this year. (Photo: Rémi Vignaud/Catalans Dragons/SWpix.com)
Catalans have beaten Hull KR twice already this year. (Photo: Rémi Vignaud/Catalans Dragons/SWpix.com)

"I'd like to think coming to our place that we can do the same back to them.

"It's a good opportunity to show where we're at and how far we have come."

With memories of their heartbreaking golden-point loss to Leigh at Wembley still fresh, the Robins blew Adrian Lam's side away on their way to a resounding 52-10 win.

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The result improved KR's points difference and left Peters' team neck and neck with Salford Red Devils in the race for the top six – but just as importantly, they overcame a mental hurdle after three previous defeats against a side they could face in the play-offs.

Corey Hall is tackled by Matt Whitley. (Photo: Rémi Vignaud/Catalans Dragons/SWpix.com)Corey Hall is tackled by Matt Whitley. (Photo: Rémi Vignaud/Catalans Dragons/SWpix.com)
Corey Hall is tackled by Matt Whitley. (Photo: Rémi Vignaud/Catalans Dragons/SWpix.com)

"We needed it for ourselves," said Peters.

"You do not want to get beat by a team four times in a year – and certainly a team that beat you in the Challenge Cup final two weeks prior.

"I'm really proud and pleased for the players and staff to be able to put the Challenge Cup behind them and focus on beating Leigh two weeks later.

"If we did get beat again by Leigh last Friday night, that can stay with you for a while.

Hull KR celebrate a try against Leigh. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)Hull KR celebrate a try against Leigh. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)
Hull KR celebrate a try against Leigh. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)
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"The biggest thing for us is learning through experiences. It showed me that the players learnt a lot in that loss to Leigh."

KR's biggest victory of the year was a timely return to form following a run of three straight defeats in league and cup that threatened to derail their season.

Peters has told his side that they need to find the drive from within to maintain that level of performance in the remaining games.

"I think it needs to be (the benchmark) but that's a question the players need to answer because they're the ones that are going to go out and back it up this week," he added.

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"As a coach and staff, we want that and that's got to be the minimum standard now.

"The players have to ask themselves what our standard is going to look like for the rest of the year and if we go under that, should we be playing finals?

Tom Johnstone has had a fine season but misses out this week. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)Tom Johnstone has had a fine season but misses out this week. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)
Tom Johnstone has had a fine season but misses out this week. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)

"If we play at that standard as a minimum, we're going to give ourselves a shot."

Peters had the luxury of naming an unchanged squad for the visit of Catalans after Rovers came through the Leigh game unscathed.

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By contrast, Steve McNamara has lost Siua Taukeiaho and Tom Johnstone from the team nilled by Wigan Warriors last time out, a result that dented the club’s chances of a second League Leaders’ Shield in three years.

A concussion robs Johnstone of his ever-present record after scoring 25 tries in 24 games since making the switch from Wakefield Trinity.

"You don't want to see anyone not playing through HIAs but there's no doubt that if he's not on the teamsheet, it helps," said Peters, who expects to be able to welcome back long-term absentees Jordan Abdull and Jesse Sue for next week’s trip to Huddersfield Giants.

"He's been exceptional this year. He's easily been one of the best wingers in the competition and will be pushing for a spot in the end-of-year England team.

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"He's a very, very good player – there's no doubt about that – but what Catalans do have is very good depth in the outside backs so whoever steps in I'm sure will do the job for them.

"There's no doubt they're going to be up for this one and upset with their performance last week.

"There are a lot of senior players in that team who have played for many, many years and they'll be driving their team to make sure they lift their standards, so we need to go with them."

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