HULL KR’S Ben Crooks scored four tries in their opening night win over Wakefield Trinity but maintained victory was built on the club’s new-found “steeliness.”
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Rovers are tipped by many for relegation but produced a hard-fought 30-12 success on Friday to set them up perfectly for derby week.
Tony Smith’s side make the short trip to Hull FC this Friday who had their own triumph with an impressive 30-4 success at Leeds Rhinos.
On KR’s first outing, Crooks conceded: “It was massive.
“Tries are great. And if they keep coming like that throughout the year, as easy as a couple of them were, we’ll be happy.
“But they all came off the back of really tough, gritty defence and that’s something we’ve focused on all pre-season.
“To put that into practice the way we did, we’re really happy.”
Smith - who utterly revamped his squad after narrowly avoiding relegation last term - has spoken often about how fare basic energy, spirit and endeavour can take his unfancied side.
Crooks, 26, said: “We’ve had it instilled in us throughout pre-season, that if we have a really tough steely defence it gives us a bit more freedom with the ball.
“People aren’t panicking as much about making a couple of errors as we can turn that into a positive with our defence.
“We’ve shown the team spirit and camarederie like we did on Friday, everyone scrambling for each other and patting each other on the back when we’ve done something well.
“Alternatively when we’ve done something not so well, too.
“If we keep doing that all year I don’t think we’ll be too far short.”
It is not the first time Crooks has scored four tries in a game; he did so with Hull FC at Castleford in 2013 - the season he won Super League’s Young Player of the Year when operating at centre - but still ended up losing 30-28.
He is looking forward to renewing acqiantances with Hull on Friday.
“It’s massive,” said Crooks, who joined Rovers from Leigh Centurions in July 2018.
“It doesn’t matter who wins the game beforehand, all the form and everything, the derby is just a completely different kettle of fish.
“Everyone is excited and I am as well as for the lads who haven’t featured in it before; we have a lot of young lads and some experienced ones who haven’t witnessed it.
“It’ll be a good build-up this week and we'll look forward to it again.”
The former Castleford player also spoke about Mose Masoe, their stricken team-mate who is still recovering in hospital after a career-ending spinal injury suffered last month.
The prop sent an emotional message to the squad before kick-off against Wakefield and Crooks said: “That’s just Mose.
“Even from the moment it happened he’s been positive all the way through and that’s been a massive inspiration for us; he’s still fighting the way he’s fighting and his questions are always about the boys, never about himself.
“He’s going to keep sending the boys messages about rugby and his progress and he will be a big inspiration for us for the rest of the year.”