HULL KR head coach Tim Sheens says Toronto Wolfpack have tried to put pressure on his side even before a ball is kicked in today’s landmark game.
They face each other in Canada with Rovers already feeling the heat after losing their Qualifiers opener at home to Salford Red Devils. Toronto, of course, eased to the Championship League Leaders’ Shield falling just twice all year and are focused on working their way into Super League at someone’s expense.
“They’re in the same position as we were this time last year, having finished top of the Championship and full of confidence,” admitted Sheens.
“We remember how confident we were going into the Qualifiers, being used to winning matches and having the belief that we would do well.
“We can relate to that and how they’ll be feeling.
“They’ve tried to put the pressure on us this week and I understand that, but ultimately it’s on both teams for various reasons.”
The East Yorkshire club, the first Super League side to venture to the Lamport Stadium, can ill-afford to lose or they will be immediately in danger of being consigned to the Million Pound Game and the threat of relegation.
“From our point of view, we need to put in a good performance and get back to doing all the basic parts of the game a lot better than we did against Salford,” said Sheens, whose side had won four of their last five matches before that lacklustre defeat.
“I didn’t see that poor performance coming but we’ve still been in good form and we’re confident in our own abilities as well.
“If we don’t turn up, Toronto will have more than enough to cause us plenty of problems but there will be no excuses from us.
“The club has given us the opportunity to prepare well and we have done so.
“We travelled early enough to acclimatise and they had to make the same trip as us, so we’re not thinking about any of that.”
That is true; Toronto started their Qualifiers campaign with a 14-0 win at Halifax on Sunday, playing in Yorkshire and also two days after Rovers played their game.
The Robins have winger Craig Hall, who captained Toronto to the League 1 title last term, in their ranks giving them some useful insight into what to expect.
Sheens added: “We went to have a look at Toronto against Halifax on Sunday and it was good to see them play in the flesh.
“They’ve got a lot of Super League and NRL experience within their ranks.
“They’ve got a good side and players who have played in big matches at the highest level, so we know to expect a tough game.”
However, the visitors are bolstered by the return of a number of key men, not least giant Samoa prop Mose Masoe after a three-game ban.
“He’s dropped a bit of weight and trained really hard over these last couple of weeks,” said Sheens.
“But he’s still a big man and disappointed to have missed out.
“He wants to make up for that and we’ve missed his go-forward.”