A WEEK ago, Ben Crooks admits he would have labelled anyone “daft” for suggesting he would play for Hull KR in Friday’s derby.
The ex-Hull FC centre did just that, however, following his late loan switch from Leigh Centurions and duly helped the depleted Robins to a famous success.
Crooks, who won Super League’s Young Player of the Year while with the Black and Whites in 2013, impressed especially with his defence as Rovers triumphed 20-16 at the KCOM Stadium.
But he said: “If someone had told me at the start of the week I’d be playing for Hull KR in the derby on Friday night I’d have said: ‘Are you daft? You can’t do that!’
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind given the awful circumstances at Leigh, and I’d just like to wish all the lads that are still there the best for the remainder of the season. I hope they get sorted out.
“But I’m very grateful to Hull KR for this chance to get back in the top flight. It’s something I believe I’m ready for and now I have to do the best I can.”
Championship club Leigh decided to release a raft of players after it emerged they would not be able to reach the top-four and challenge for an immediate promotion back into Super League.
Ex-Hull winger Craig Hall also joined the Robins on loan until the end of the season, scoring two tries outside Crooks on Friday.
KR coach Tim Sheens revealed he only met Crooks – who joined Parramatta Eels and then Castleford Tigers after leaving Hull – on the afternoon of the game.
The 25-year-old, who hopes to secure a deal for 2019, explained: “I was waiting for a call to go in and sign, and time was so tight I couldn’t get to the ground.
“I had to sign the deal at home and get it scanned and sent off.
“The RFL were lenient given the circumstances though, and we got the contract in about 3.30pm, and luckily I got to play.
“But I’ve never played in a team I’ve not met before! There was no pressure from Tim on myself and Craig – he couldn’t train with the boys due to insurance purposes – and we were told to express ourselves. Luckily, it worked out.
“Now we have the Qualifiers. We need to start well and get off to a flier.”