GRAEME HORNE has urged his Hull KR side to toughen up or risk being on the wrong end of some Catalans Dragons punishment.
Rovers are in action in Perpignan this afternoon knowing their French opponents are badly struggling for form having won just two of their last seven games.
However, they have been bolstered by the return of star signing Todd Carney, the former Australian Test stand-off, who has been missing for all of those games after injuring his ribs versus Salford on March 7.
Hull KR second-row Horne admits the Catalans pack are ordinarily a hard bunch to rein in, especially at home.
“It will be a tough game, as it always is when you go down there,” he said, though Rovers did set off the Dragons’ poor run by beating them 50-20 at KC Lightstreams Stadium last month.
“Catalans have been a bit like us this year; very good at home and poor away.
“We’ve had some pretty close games against them and I think this will be another.
“In that last match at our place, we defended better and had more confidence and belief in our own ability.
“We completed our sets and that is how we took them down. We have to make sure we do that again.
“Catalans have some big lads and if we give them the ball they are likely to terrorise us.”
Hull KR have won four of their last five games, Sunday’s high-scoring 50-30 Challenge Cup win at Bradford offsetting a disappointing loss at Castleford.
“We’ve done well with the attacking side; it’s always been our defence that we need to work on,” admitted the ex-Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants forward, who was among the try-scorers last week.
“Our defence has been pretty poor over the last two weeks. Over the Easter weekend we made big improvements but it has gone a little bit backwards.
“That could be to do with the personnel we’ve had. We have been a bit light in the middle but we don’t make excuses. We still have to make our tackles, you wouldn’t be a Super League player if you couldn’t tackle. We need to get it right.”
New signing Dane Tilse is set to make his debut, despite the former Canberra Raiders prop only arriving in the UK on Tuesday before joining his new team-mates for the flight to Perpignan two days later.
Rovers head coach Chris Chester is glad of the timing, however, given fellow Australian prop Mitch Allgood is injured along with ex-England hooker Shaun Lunt and centre Liam Salter.
Back-row James Donaldson is suspended for kicking out against Bradford but Maurice Blair and James Green return and youngster Connor Robinson is also drafted in.
Horne is a fan of the fixture.
“It’s a great weekend for the fans and one I really enjoy,” he said. “All the lads were buzzing to come over.
“We have a good team bond and the trip is good for the lads.
“Dane is coming in this week as well so it will be great for him to get to know everyone.”