HULL KR’S Robbie Mulhern says the club has the base to build a quality Super League side now it has got what it “deserved” by securing top-flight safety.
The prop – who hopes to be named in the England Knights squad tomorrow – was impressive again as he helped Rovers to Sunday’s crucial 30-0 win over Widnes Vikings.
Although they finished 10th in the regular season, Tim Sheens’ side had to battle hard in the Qualifiers to avoid the ‘Million Pound Game’ and did so without a raft of injured players. But now Mulhern believes they can start looking at working their way up the table in 2019.
“We have such a good squad of players,” said the 23-year-old.
“Every team gets their injuries but we have had a fair share this year. Losing Quinny (Adam Quinlan) was massive and we’ve not had Mags (Danny McGuire) out there for spells and everyone knows how good he is.
“Losing people like Heff (Andrew Heffernan) as well means it has been a really up and down season so we’ve done all right.
We trained really hard for it all week and we got what we deserved, if I’m honest.Robbie Mulhern
“If we can keep this same core of players and then build up again next year we’ll be all right to really kick on again.”
Rovers were brutally efficient against Widnes, especially in defence where they often bullied their opponents, a perfect response after leaking 34 points in a shock defeat to Toulouse the previous week.
“We trained really hard for it all week and we got what we deserved, if I’m honest,” added Mulhern.
“We spoke about it all the way through our build-up (physicality in defence) and you could tell especially from their taps and 20-metre restarts and things like that. We were determined to keep them down there and not let them get a roll on.
“That’s what we did pretty much all game barring a couple of offloads which was always likely to happen.”
Former Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain half-back McGuire was instrumental in guiding Rovers home with a vintage display.
On the 35-year-old, Mulhern admitted: “He is a different level.
“I’d not trained during the week – I had a bit of a bad calf – so had just been watching.
“When you take a step back and watch what he does in training he really has just got the ball on a string.
“He is unbelievable and to get to play with him again I can’t wait.
“Players like him make the difference. I didn’t realise he’d set up all three tries in the first half but it’s not a surprise to hear that as I know how good he is.”
Castleford Tigers half-back Jake Trueman is awaiting scan results on a hand injury ahead of Friday’s semi-final at Wigan.
London Broncos’ former Castleford, Featherstone and Wales winger Michael Channing, 26, has retired due to a neck injury.