We look at what’s being said ahead of Friday’s Super League matches as Hull Kingston Rovers and Salford Red Devils face off live on Sky Sports, and Warrington Wolves play Wakefield Trinity…
Smith raring to go for Rovers return
Tony Smith could hardly be happier with how Hull KR are shaping up as they return to action after a weekend off while the Challenge Cup semi-finals took place.
Their previous match in Super League had seen Rovers rebound with a convincing 40-16 win at home to winless Leigh Centurions, lifting them into the top six of the standings.
Hull K R vs Salford Red Devils
June 11, 2021, 7:30pm
Friday sees the Robins host another of the competition’s strugglers in Salford Red Devils, now live on Sky Sports following the postponement of Leeds Rhinos versus St Helens, and head coach Smith is pleased with the work done in the extended build-up to this match.
“I’m pleased it was a win [against Leigh] because it’s a long 12 days if you have a loss or a bad performance and I think it’s done us the world of good,” Smith said.
“We had a mini-break last week where they’ve had some time away with their families, but we’ve done some real quality work and they’ve been able to rip in and work on some things we needed to.
“Some of those were some of our positives, but some of them are obviously areas we need to improve. Hopefully we’ve achieved a bit in these 12 days, not just freshened up.”
Smith is further boosted by the return of George King, who missed the win over Leigh and the 28-12 loss to Wakefield Trinity with a hip injury and goes straight back into the 21-man squad.
Enjoyment the key for Red Devils
There has not been much for Salford to celebrate during the first two months of Richard Marshall’s reign as head coach, with their only wins so far coming over promoted Leigh Centurions in Super League and against Championship side Widnes Vikings in the Challenge Cup.
However, Marshall is keen for his side to get the enjoyment back into what they do as they prepare to head to Hull College Craven Park for Friday’s Super League match against Hull KR.
Like Rovers, they are coming into this game having had a weekend off to refresh and refocus following a chastening 62-18 defeat at the hands of Warrington last time out and the Red Devils boss is keeping a positive mindset.
“I think the most testing period we’ve had are the last three games,” Marshall said. “Playing the top three teams in the competition has been tough and certainly taken its toll on our squad.
“These games are no lesser opposition just because they’re not sitting at the top of the table. Probably even more so, there is a little bit of pressure down where we are at the moment.
“We’ve got perform really well and enjoy what we’re doing – I think that’s the key word. Control what we can control and enjoy being a team.”
Marshall is set to give a debut to former Wigan Warriors winger Joe Burgess but is without both centre Kallum Watkins and half-back Kevin Brown for up to three months.
👊 Captain's run ✅ this morning!
⏳ 24 hours until we face the Robins…
Watkins ruptured knee ligaments in the loss to the Wolves while Brown is to undergo surgery on Friday to repair ankle ligaments and has confirmed he will retire at the end of the season.
Hull Kingston Rovers: Adam Quinlan, Ben Crooks, Greg Minikin, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Matt Parcell, Korbin Sims, Brad Takairangi, Kane Linnett, Dean Hadley, Jez Litten, George Lawler, George King, Matty Storton, Mikey Lewis, Rowan Milnes, Will Maher, Luis Johnson, Muizz Mustapha, Jimmy Keinhorst.
Salford Red Devils: Morgan Escare, Ken Sio, Joe Burgess, Tui Lolohea, Lee Mossop, Andy Ackers, Seb Ikahihifo, Ryan Lannon, Pauli Pauli, Elijah Taylor, Ollie Roberts, Greg Burke, Josh Johnson, Chris Atkin, Harvey Livett, Rhys Williams, Jack Ormondroyd, Jack Wells, Sam Luckley, Dec Patton, Ben Davies.
Chester primed for Warrington test
Chris Chester is braced for Wakefield to face a stiff test of their recent resurgence when they travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium to face Warrington on Friday evening.
Having begun 2021 with seven straight defeats in all competitions, Trinity have turned that around to win their last three matches.
They now tackle a Warrington team still hurting from last Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Castleford Tigers and aiming to keep in touch with the Super League front-runners.
“It will be an acid test this week against Warrington,” Chester said. “We’re coming up against a top-four side who are going to be smarting from their loss at the weekend.
“It probably is a good time to play them. We’re in good form, we’re a confident group but I’m sure they will be wanting to put their best foot forward on Friday night.”
Chester is weighing up whether to give winger Tom Johnstone his first game for two months and will check on the fitness of prop Kelepi Tanginoa after he came off in the 30-20 win over Leigh last Sunday with a dead leg.
Warrington coach Steve Price’s only hope of ending his time at the club with silverware now rests on a maiden Grand Final success and he expects them to stay on course by bouncing back at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night.
“It was a disappointing performance on Saturday,” Price said, reflecting on the 35-20 Cup loss to Castleford. “We will learn some harsh lessons.
“There’s a couple of things that needed to be addressed but I’ve got a huge amount of belief and confidence we can turn it around this week.”
Meanwhile, Stefan Ratchford is set to make his 300th Super League appearance as Price keeps faith with the team which bowed out of the Challenge Cup last week.
Warrington Wolves: Sitaleki Akauola, Blake Austin, Rob Butler, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Michael Cooper, Ben Currie, Matt Davis, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Ellis Longstaff, Jake Mamo, Robbie Mulhern, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker, Gareth Widdop, Connor Wrench.
Wakefield Trinity: Max Jowitt, Tom Johnstone, Bill Tupou, Reece Lyne, Liam Kay, Jacob Miller, Mason Lino, David Fifita, Kyle Wood, Tinirau Arona, Kelepi Tanginoa, Joe Westerman, Jay Pitts, Eddie Battye, James Batchelor, Chris Green, Innes Senior, Joe Arundel, Brad Walker, Yusuf Aydin, Lee Kershaw.
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