NRL Grand Final winner Kane Linnett has only been in Super League for less than a year but he knows just how “devastating” relegation would be to his club Hull KR.
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The Australian centre hopes to be fit enough to resume in their final regular round game at Salford Red Devils tomorrow night when the East Yorkshire club realise they must win to make sure there is no chance of suffering the drop.
Linnett, 30, joined from North Queensland Cowboys at the end of last season and has hardly missed a game for the Robins, scoring nine tries in 26 appearances.
KR are one of four clubs at the foot of the table all locked on 20 points heading into Survival Friday and they cannot rely on other results going their way.
Linnett missed last week’s painful home loss to relegation rivals London Broncos due to a rib injury but returns to face a Salford side who have won their last seven games.
As an Australian, the whole concept of relegation to him is alien given there is no such format in the NRL.
But Linnett - who won the 2015 Grand Final alongside legendary Jonathan Thurston at Cowboys - said it would be “massive” for him to help prevent Rovers going down as they did three years ago.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” he said.
“It’s a great, proud club and they’ve got a lot of history. Obviously it’d be devastating if we went down.
“I’ll be out there trying to do the best for my club and the rest of my team-mates.
“It (relegation) is very new to me. I guess it makes it more interesting for the fans but for us players it can be a bit of a nervous time.
“But we’ve just got to focus on this week and be better than we were last week.”
Rovers will be encouraged by the knowledge they have already beaten Salford twice this season, even if it was before their opponents hit this current purple patch.
They lost 24-22 at home in February but then knocked Red Devils out of the Challenge Cup with a 32-18 win at AJ Bell Stadium in May, backing up with a Magic Weekend success over them just a fortnight later.
“That gives us confidence,” said Linnett, who represented Scotland at the 2013 World Cup.
“I thought we could have won all three games. They’re in great form having won their last seven and have beaten some tough teams along the way.
“It’s going to be a tough game for us and we know we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them. That’s a big task for us this week.
“I’m desperate to play. It was obviously hard watching last week (lose 20-16 in the 78th minute against London).
“The boys put in a brave effort but we just fell short. This week is a massive game for us and hopefully I can get in there and really help the team out and get the two points.
“The ribs are coming along good. I got through a decent session today (Wednesday).
“We’ve got one more session Thursday and if we come through that I’ll be sweet to play.”
Linnett, who signed a three-year deal with Rovers, knows victory will see his side safe regardless of what bottom-placed London do at Wakefield who are also level on points with Huddersfield Giants who host Catalans Dragons.
“It’s in our own hands and we need to be better,” he said.
“We haven’t been able to put two wins together all year.
“It’s been a tough year but I’m very proud of the boys.
“We’ve stuck in there and have found a way to keep bouncing back.
“It’s been a tough year for everyone but we’ve never given up and it showed on the weekend again. The effort was there but we just need to be smarter in different areas.”