Tony Smith discusses Hull KR frustrations as he calls for greater resilience

Tony Smith believes Hull KR are victims of their own success after being left frustrated by recent form.

Tony Smith is looking to turn around Hull KR's form. (Picture: SWPix.com)
Tony Smith is looking to turn around Hull KR's form. (Picture: SWPix.com)

The Robins went from the wooden spoon to the Super League semi-finals last season and appeared primed to fight on both fronts in the second half of this campaign.

But two Super League nillings either side of a Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Huddersfield Giants has taken the wind out of KR’s sails.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Rovers remain well placed to mount a play-off challenge, a fact not lost on Smith ahead of today’s clash with Catalans Dragons at Craven Park.

Tony Smith's side have suffered a series of crushing defeats. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“Of course we are,” he said.

“Three defeats on the trot wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows two or three years ago when it was just the norm.

“It’s good in some ways that our own expectations are much higher. It hurts at the moment because we expect a lot of ourselves.”

Smith’s recent decision to step down as head coach and the manner of the announcement has come under the microscope in recent weeks.

Hull KR were well beaten at Castleford last weekend. (Picture: SWPix.com)

But he believes his team are struggling physically and mentally after a draining period.

“We had a couple of big matches, one was to get us to a final and we played poorly,” said Smith.

“That affects you, absolutely it does. Not many human beings react without disappointment to those sorts of opportunities.

“It’s how you deal with it. We need to be a bit more resilient and bounce back.

“It’s a bit physical too when some of your players are playing a little bit more game time than would be preferred for their optimum performance.

“It’s a bit of mental and a bit of physical for some.”

Rovers are set to welcome back some fresh bodies against Catalans with Elliot Minchella, Will Dagger, Albert Vete and Frankie Halton all ready to return to action.

The game represents a chance for the Robins to right the wrongs of recent performances in front of their fans at Craven Park.

After being left hurt by the reaction to their form slump, Smith has called on his team to develop a thick skin.

He wants his players to channel their frustrations in the right way.

“Building resilience is important because people do take things to heart,” he said. “We haven’t got hearts of stone.

“Just because you’re paid to do something that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when you get criticism.

“The boys have had some of that and some have had plenty. It gets through and it’s not easy, but as long as you keep things in perspective and within the group as well.

“We’re all keen for us to do better. We’re a bit frustrated. I think one of the big things in sport is that frustration can be a crippler when you know you can do something well and it’s just not flowing for you. That’s when frustration can creep in.

“It’s keeping control of that frustration and trying to deal with it in a different way rather than being frustrated. We’re working through all that.”