HULL KR coach Tim Sheens has been referencing ‘quicksand’ to his squad ahead of their Qualifiers game against Halifax –and the need to avoid it at all costs.
The Robins gave their survival hopes a significant boost with last week’s victory at Super League rivals Leeds Rhinos, their second success from the opening three fixtures.
Championship part-timers Halifax arrive tomorrow as the lowest-ranked side and, in their third Qualifiers campaign, still awaiting a win against a top-flight opponent.
Salford Red Devils beat them 62-4 last week and, while losing all three games, Richard Marshall’s side have scored just two tries in 240 minutes of rugby.
However, former Kangaroos chief Sheens knows only too well not to take them lightly.
“Scott Murrell will direct them around and last week’s scoreline doesn’t reflect how hard Salford had to work for that win,” he said.
I call it quicksand; once you get feet caught in it, because you’re not prepared for it, all of a sudden you find the more you struggle the worse you get.Hull KR coach Tim Sheens
“Halifax are a gritty side and they beat us here last year so we’ll never take anything for granted.
“Every time you turn up without your head on you leave yourself open to get beat as once you turn up in that mood it’s hard to get out of that mood.
“I call it quicksand; once you get feet caught in it, because you’re not prepared for it, all of a sudden you find the more you struggle the worse you get.”
Rovers are right to show caution; the Qualifiers are remarkably tight with only Salford boasting a 100 per cent win record and four teams all on four points.
“At the minute we’re in the Million Pound Game aren’t we (fifth spot)?” added Sheens.
“And until we’re clear of that… Although we’ve three Championship clubs to come all have earned the right to be there this year so we’re going to have to work hard.
“Thinking we just have to turn up to win is the biggest mistake you can make in these Qualifiers.”
Marshall is set to give a raft of youngsters a chance to shine.
“This week is about opportunity for those people; after last week, they can’t really do any worse, can they?” he said.
Those youngsters include Frazer Morris, Sion Jones and Connor Davies, who all come into the reckoning after being named in the Halifax 19-man squad.
Hull KR have seen back-row Danny Tickle – the 35-year-old who misses the chance to face his first professional club – and centre Ben Crooks (knee) drop out
But that is offset by the return of Todd Carney and experienced forward Lee Jewitt while Joel Tomkins is expected to feature, too, after missing the Leeds win due to illness.