HULL KR head coach Tim Sheens says the club will start initiating plans today to make sure they do not encounter the problems of relegation again.
The veteran Australian coach oversaw the Championship club’s top-flight return at the first attempt after they beat Super League Widnes Vikings 12-6 on Saturday.
It meant the Robins – relegated in heartbreaking fashion in last year’s Million Pound Game – have won all five Qualifiers games so far to secure promotion even before Friday’s visit from Catalans Dragons and a final fixture at Warrington Wolves.
Sheens, 66, will now sit down with the club’s hierarchy to formulate a way forward with the Robins looking to strengthen their playing squad for 2018.
High-calibre mid-season signings such as ex-St Helens prop Mase Masoe – who claimed on Saturday night he would remain at Craven Park next term – Justin Carney and Lee Jewitt already leave Rovers in good stead.
“Yes, it’s a good start,” said Sheens, who won the 2013 World Cup with the Kangaroos but rated this achievement as one of his best yet.
“We had James Donaldson and Josh Johnson out with injuries for the year, too, and we have a very good reserve team as well.
“But you need depth to cover your injuries and things that will always happen to you.
“We still need to improve our team if we are going to be a week in, week out Super League side.
“We’ve been planning for weeks about next year but I couldn’t ring an agent and say ‘yes we’re in Super League and I’ve got the budget for you’. A lot of people have held off.
We still need to improve our team if we are going to be a week in, week out Super League side.Hull KR head coach, Tim Sheens
“We’ve got some good names there so we’ll wait and see how much money I’ll have to spend.
“We’re in (Super League) now and need to be planning for the next three years not just one.
“Obviously we need results next season. We don’t want to be back here if this is the format – which is yet to be decided I imagine – but once these celebrations have died down we’ll start looking. We want to be a strong side.”
With a better squad now than when they were relegated and attendances and sponsorship up, the East Yorkshire club – last promoted in 2006 – do already seem better prepared than ever.
Meanwhile, it was Sheens’s 700th game as a coach.
“I didn’t realise that,” he admitted. “Obviously it’s a game that I’ll remember, that’s for sure. In context, it’s as good as anything, it’s what you’re doing at the time.
“I was employed to get the team back into Super League and we’ve done it today. I suppose it’s one job done. We’ll enjoy the moment.
“It’s a bit surreal really – we’ve still got two games to go – and it felt like a Grand Final.
“The guys are very happy, particularly the ones here last year. The effort was nigh on perfect.”
Report & reaction: Page 6