HULL KR full-back Ben Cockayne says an improved attitude underpinned the Qualifiers win at Salford Red Devils.
Rovers defeated their Super League rivals 29-12 on Friday night to take a big step towards avoiding relegation.
At the heart of the victory was some quality defence with Cockayne in particular coming up with three try-saving tackles as their desperate opponents battled to get back in the game.
“When you play Salford you’re going to get challenged all day given the way they throw the ball around and create opportunities,” he said.
“Our plan was to try keep them in their end as much as possible and make them do the hard work coming out of there.
“We did that and I thought Albert Kelly, Matty Marsh and Maurice Blair kicked exceptionally well – it really helped keep them at their end.
“But, as a whole, our attitude has been spot on over the last few weeks and that’s really helped us.
“Our attitude and desire to defend was second to none.”
Cockayne’s second half tackle to deny giant centre Junior Sa’u was probably the pick of the bunch.
“It’s funny as I played for England Knights here v Samoa a few years ago and he steamrolled me for a try,” said the former Wakefield Trinity Wildcats star.
“So, it was nice to get one back over him and keep him out.
“That’s part of the job, though, for me. I don’t think I offered much in attack today but I thought defensively I did a good job for us.
“There were a few (try-savers) and Salford, looking back on it, might think it was a missed opportunity as they did create a lot.”
Having lost narrowly the week before against Leeds Rhinos, the Robins now have two wins from three, having also beaten Championship Batley Bulldogs. Victory over Salford is likely to be significant in the bigger picture.
Cockayne, 32, admitted: “It was one of those where coming in to it you’re thinking if we get beat we can still win our next four but... you want some breathing space.
“It’s just a shame we couldn’t put Leeds away last week and make it three from three.
“It does put us in a little bit more of a comfortable position but it’s a competition where everyone is nervous and wanting to get as many wins as they can.”
Rovers, who host Leigh Centurions next, will now be confident of pushing on to secure a top-three finish to secure a place in Super League for 2017 and avoid the tension of playing in the Million Pound Game.
But Cockayne insisted: “I don’t like the concept, if I’m honest.
“I’m not saying it just because we’re here – I said it last year. I just think it makes the top-eight teams stronger.
“They’re getting all their recruitment done and look at us –we’re not even announcing a new coach yet as apparently he’s waiting to see which league we’re in.
“Things like that really go against us but it is what it is.”