AS HULL KR’S squad warmed-up with ‘Mose 10’ emblazoned on their training tops last night, it was just another reminder of what they are fighting for as this new season got underway.
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Their team-mate Mose Masoe remains in hospital after suffering a serious spinal injury last month and - still uncertain if he will ever walk again - the squad has pledged to play this campaign in his honour.
Although Ben Crooks, with some wonderful finishing, scored four tries to deliver an opening night win for a side rated by many as relegation favourites, it was their defensive spirit, especially in the early stages, that underscored the victory.
It will be that endeavour and character, too, that will no doubt prove crucial if they are going to make a success of their campaign, especially while also missing injured club captain Weller Hauraki for the next few weeks, too.
Still, Wakefield Trinity will be disheartened that they failed to prosper, although injuries to talisman Danny Brough - who limped off with a suspected ACL in the 54th minute - and England centre Reece Lyne (head) derailed any hopes of rescuing the points.
They wasted chances in the first period and, with Rovers being so resilient, were made to pay.
Granted, there were mistakes aplenty from both sides, typical of any first game of the season, but the hosts had some towering performers, not least Matty Storton, the young back-row making his Super League debut after joining from Championship Bradford Bulls.
Harvey Livett and George Lawler ran their blood to water, too, in one of the lightest packs you are ever likely to see, KR coach Tony Smith making the surprise decision to play stand-off Jordan Abdull at loose forward.
The East Yorkshire club started brightly and took a 10-0 lead inside just 12 minutes.
They showed that defensive determination by holding Trinity out for three consecutive sets on their own goalline, finished off with a remarkable tackle from Greg Minkin who somehow denied England winger Tom Johnstone when it seemed easier to score.
That effort was rewarded as they then scored with their first attack, a lovely cut-out pass from Livett ushering Crooks over for his first in the tightest of spaces.
Wakefield’s discipline was poor early on but Rovers turned down the chance of an easy two points to instead go for their second try.
It paid off as Adam Quinlan made a late arc into the line to wrap around Jamie Ellis and find Minikin for the former Castleford Tigers man to score on debut.
Jamie Ellis converted and erratic Wakefield continued to struggle, a flapping Johnstone spilling Abdull’s downfield kick to cede more position.
Nevertheless, Rovers soon slipped into similarly errant ways, Daniel Murray coughing up on the first tackle from a penalty and then, maddeningly, showing no urgency whatsoever to get on the loose ball.
Instead, in the resulting set, Brough came up with one of his magic passes to put Joe Westerman, the former Hull FC loose forward, over for a try on his Trinity debut.
Brough converted and it was his side who enjoyed the better of the chances thereafter.
Ryan Hampshire made a searing break with unmarked Matty Ashurst, only to throw a dummy that was never going to fool Adam Quinlan.
It would not be the first time Hampshire - in his favoured No1 role due to new signing Alex Walker’s injury - would be denied by his opposite number.
Adam Tangata also made a storming break from deep but was dragged down by the chasing Ryan Brierley and then made a mess of the play-the-ball while Danny Brough also wasted a chance with a forward pass to Westerman.
Rovers were similarly scrappy and Mitch Garbutt played like a curate’s egg.
With Masoe missing, Rovers needed the big Australian prop but this was his first game since September and it showed; he produced some forceful carries and a couple of fearsome hits but also came up with three dropped passes.
Hampshire looked certain to score directly from a scrum at the start of the second period only for his opposite number Quinlan to somehow get hold of him and stick.
It was crucial; Hampshire then spilled Quinlan’s kick and, from there, Brierley found Kane Linnett who managed to squeeze out and offload for Crooks to get his second.
Crooks went in for his hat-trick just after the hour mark after Johnstone spilled in a huge tackle and Livett provided the assist.
However, Brierley messed up the restart for the second successive time and Josh Wood darted over from dummy-half for Hampshire to keep Wakefield in it.
Still, indefatigable Rovers would not lie down and Crooks’ fourth came as he rose to claim Jamie Ellis’ kick, Brierley, the signing from Toronto Wolfpack, making sure at the death as he dummied over for a debut try, Ellis finishing with three goals.
Johnstone broke through in the final seconds but, typically, Quinlan denied the winger, albeit getting a yellow card for laying on too long afterwards.
No one was complaining.
Hull KR: Quinlan; Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Linnett, Crooks; Ellis, Brierley; Lawler, Litten, Murray, Livett, Storton, Abdull. Substitutes: Mulhern, Garbutt, Maher, Minchella.
Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire; Atkins, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone; Miller, Brough; Kopczak, J Wood, Tanginoa, Pitts, Ashurst, Westerman. Substitutes: Kirmond, Navarrete, Tangata, K Wood.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham)