THERE should be, at last, some semblance of normality for Hull KR tomorrow.
That seems a bizarre thing to suggest given they will already be under the command of a third different head coach this year –James Webster – when they head to Huddersfield Giants and still await a first Super League win after five rounds.
However, the sight of captain Terry Campese, their talisman and stand-off who has been injured since last June, and former Giants and England hooker Shaun Lunt, who has yet to play this term, in their 19-man squad will bring some shred of clarity and, more than anything, belief.
Maurice Blair, the Australian back-row playing at six during injury-ravaged Rovers’ difficult start to the year, has tried using his experience to guide them through these tricky times.
But he knows how crucial it will be, especially in a game between Super League’s bottom two, to have Campese, the tall and silky former Kangaroo, around once more as he returns from his third knee reconstruction.
“It’ll be good to have him back just for the direction,” said Blair who, if Campese comes through today’s final practice okay, will happily revert back to the second-row.
“Shaun is due back too. They’re our main organisers and we’ve missed them the most.
“I think it’s been the difference between winning and losing. A lot of the games this year we’ve been in it until the end but those types of players make the difference towards the end of the game.
“The young kids have come in and done a great job but we need those two organisers back to give us some direction.
“He’s a very competitive character, is Campo. He’s always been pushing himself to get back as soon as possible.
“He wants us to win and it hurts for him to watch the boys lose on the sidelines. That’s been his motivation to get back.”
Overseeing it all, though, is Webster who is blessed with the potential return of six players ahead of his first game in charge.
Albert Kelly, the Australian half who brought brilliance to Rovers at times during his debut season last year just like Campese, is back from a hamstring strain, and Graeme Horne is passed fit following a head knock that kept him out of last week’s 30-16 loss at Widnes, too.
The banned duo of John Boudebza and James Green are also named in the 19-man squad.
Webster, already a Rovers legend having helped guide them to Super League as their scrum-half in 2006, takes over from Willie Poching, the assistant who had been in temporary charge for two games following Chris Chester’s sacking last month.
Undoubtedly, there has been plenty of upheaval in recent weeks but the 32-year-old Blair said: “James has been great for us.
“His attention to detail has been pretty spot-on. He’d only taken us through one video session, we went out to training straight after, and we saw the improvements straight away. It’s a good sign.
“His technical side of things is what he spoke about when he first came in.
“We had a quick review of last week and he showed the improvements we can put in straight away.
“He’s very precise in what he wants in offence and defence. We’ll try to implement that over the next few weeks.
“I don’t think you’ll see a major improvement at the weekend but we’ll see the benefits of that in three or four weeks’ time once we get our heads around it.”
Rovers have lost all four games since drawing with Castleford Tigers on opening day, the only side with a worse record in the competition being tomorrow’s hosts who remain pointless.
“Starting well again is the key,” added Blair. “We started with really good energy last week at Widnes and forced an error on the first set but we just had a few lapses that cost us.
“We have to take our opportunities at Giants and definitely need to get the win. They are in a similar position to us so it’s going to be tough, but we’re confident.
“They’ve got a few strike weapons – Leroy Cudjoe out in the centres has been scoring a few tries, Jermaine McGillvary is always a handful – so we’re all going to have to be at our best.”