St Helens v Hull KR: Positive approach can still serve Rovers well – Donaldson

HULL KR back-row James Donaldson admits these are “worrying” times for the East Yorkshire club.

CONFIDENT: Hull Kingston Rovers' James Donaldson.
 Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
CONFIDENT: Hull Kingston Rovers' James Donaldson. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

They head to champions St Helens tonight on the back of a three-game losing run that has left them on the brink of the bottom four.

Rovers will need a miracle if they are to sneak back into the top eight after last Friday’s 22-12 home defeat to derby rivals Hull FC left them in ninth place.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Chris Chester’s side require a handsome win at Langtree Park this evening coupled with Leeds Rhinos inflicting a heavy defeat on visiting Catalans Dragons this Sunday to consign the French side, instead, to the Qualifiers.

Donaldson, relegated with Bradford Bulls last year, told The Yorkshire Post: “I don’t think it’s all done yet (top eight).

“There’s a slight chance we can still do it but we’re not thinking about that. We just need to get back to playing well and playing as a team because it is a worrying time.

“We’ve lost our last three games so it’s more worrying for us than others.

“We have to start thinking positive and looking forward to coming up against the top teams from the Championship who will give us a real go and a battle.

“I’m confident we can do that, though.”

Rovers hope the addition of new signing Dane Chisholm will give them a timely lift, the Australian stand-off who arrived from Canterbury Bulldogs last week and should now debut tonight with Terry Campese and Albert Kelly both out injured.

“He’s come in and given us a bit more direction which will really help us at Saints,” added Donaldson, who recently marked his 100th career game.

“He’s looked really sharp, has some pace about him and some nice footwork as well as some leadership which we probably need especially going over there.

“Saints are a class team and they haven’t won all those trophies for nothing.

“It will be tough at their place on Friday.”

One hope for Rovers is that their hosts will have one eye on the Challenge Cup semi-final – they face Leeds in a week’s time – although Saints, who are missing England hooker James Roby tonight, also need victory to potentially deny Leeds top spot.

Rovers, of course, face Warrington Wolves in their own semi-final next Saturday with a place at Wembley beckoning. However, that loss against Hull has still left a sour taste.

Donaldson, 23, said: “It was hugely disappointing.

“You don’t want to lose any derby.

“We know what it’s like for the people of Hull and how much it means to the fans.

“We had a great opportunity to take a step closer to the eight and we let it go.”

KR full-back Josh Guzdek, 20, has joined Keighley Cougars on loan until the end of the season.