Willie Peters' Hull KR in-tray: Who stays and who goes, recruitment, stick or twist

Willie Peters will take over from Tony Smith as Hull KR head coach at the end of the season after signing a three-year deal.

Willie Peters has no time to waste. (Picture: Hull KR)
Willie Peters has no time to waste. (Picture: Hull KR)

The Australian is set to see out the year with Newcastle Knights but he will have a hand in recruitment and retention before he arrives at Craven Park.

Here, The Yorkshire Post takes a look at the big decisions facing the next Rovers head coach.

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Who stays and who goes

Willie Peters, right, worked under Wayne Bennett, left, at South Sydney. (Picture: Getty Images)

Peters effectively has two jobs for the next few months as he helps to reshape the Hull KR squad ahead of his arrival.

He will pore over hours of video footage to assess the current squad with a focus on the 14 off-contract players.

Overseas quintet Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Matt Parcell, Albert Vete, Korbin Sims and Brad Takairangi are in the final few months of their contracts, with Dean Hadley and Sam Wood among the other standout names on the list.

Peters would no doubt like to have longer to make contract decisions but chief executive Paul Lakin has made it clear that retention and recruitment discussions will take place immediately.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall is out of contract this year. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Part of Peters' remit will be to make sure the Robins keep hold of their star men regardless of contract status.

Where to strengthen

Mass changes are unlikely after Peters vowed to build on the good work done by Smith.

With as many as five overseas quota spots potentially available, Peters' NRL experience will come in handy.

Brad Takairangi has not played since his conviction for driving offences. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Most recent overseas recruits Vete, Sims and Takairangi have failed to fire, which will make the club wary of dipping into the NRL market.

If they all move on, Rovers will need to recruit a couple of no-nonsense props as well as a utility player or a specialist centre.

Depending on retention decisions, KR may need to strengthen in the outside backs and the back row.

Stick or twist

Danny McGuire joined Tony Smith's coaching staff ahead of the 2021 season. (Picture: SWPix.com)

It is not yet clear whether Peters will come with his own coaching staff or stick with the existing backroom team.

David Hodgson, Danny McGuire and Stanley Gene have all enhanced their reputations during their time at Craven Park and would not be short of suitors if they were surplus to requirements or left of their own accord.

Knowledge of the club is important for any coach entering a new environment and Peters would be well covered in that sense should he retain Smith's three assistants.

How to manage left edge

Kane Linnett's contract renewal means he is set to come off contract at the same time as Ryan Hall at the end of 2023.

Should Kenny-Dowall extend his stay, Rovers face the possibility of losing all three players - each in their mid-30s - at the same time, as well as Lachlan Coote who has one year remaining on his deal.

The Robins need to avoid that scenario which means staggering their exits, something that is easier said than done.