RETURNING to Hull KR today should not be as painful as it once was for Hull FC prop Scott Taylor with Albert Kelly ready to take some of the flak for him.
England prop Taylor started his career with the Robins but, after spells with Wigan and Salford, joined the Black and Whites in 2016, helping them to consecutive Challenge Cup final triumphs.
Hull head to KCOM Craven Park for the lunchtime derby encounter, the first since KR returned to Super League after their 12 months in the Championship, and Taylor said: “I have missed it a lot being a Hull lad.
“I know what it means to everyone, what the atmosphere is like and it is probably the biggest game of the season barring semi-finals and finals.
“It actually feels like a final and with it not happening last year I’m real happy it’s back now.
“Some fans said they don’t want them (Rovers) back up but I think it’s great for the city, the fans, the owners and the team and it’s always a pleasure to be involved in.
“When I go back there I do get absolutely hammered (by KR supporters) but we’ve got Albert Kelly in the team now so he can take some of the heat off of me. It’s the first time he’s been back since he left so that helps me!”
Maverick stand-off Kelly made the switch in controversial circumstances after Rovers were relegated in 2016 and has been a massive hit for Lee Radford’s side.
Tim Sheens’s KR side have won just twice this term and lost 30-6 at home to leaders St Helens last Friday but FC’s victory over Catalans Dragons on the same night was also just their third.
Taylor, 27, admitted: “We needed to get the win no matter what and we managed to do that.
“It was still pretty poor from us in parts but we had to get the two points to take into what is probably the biggest Easter weekend we’ve had in a long time.
“We have to try get two wins and get us in a better league position. I really rate Tim Sheens. He’s a really good coach and a good bloke from what I experienced with him at Salford and he knows how to get a team firing.
“They showed against Huddersfield they have some real threat and they were in the Saints game a lot more than the score suggests.”
He continued: “They’ve some real pace out wide and we need to nullify that area; we need to stick to our gameplan and don’t let the occasion get the better of us.
“Some boys in our team and there’s have never played in a derby before. You can get a bit shellshocked and go away from what you need to do as you’re buzzing so much.
“It’s my job as one of the senior boys to make sure we stay on the right path.”
On his own derby memories, Taylor’s happiest is undoubted.
“It has to be two years ago, Good Friday at Craven Park,” he said.
“KR played really well and for the first 60 minutes made us go off our game-plan and we got sucked into doing stuff we didn’t need to.
“It took until 20 minutes to go for us to get our heads together and get back on track.
“To come back, as we did from 20-nil down to beat them 22-20 that is one special game I’ll remember forever.”