The Giants have saved their worst performance of the year - and arguably their worst Super League performance since our nilling at Leigh just over a year ago - for our first televised game in a while, and against a side we really should have been hoping to beat. I mean no disrespect to the visitors by that, who were worthy winners last night, but based off form there were very few people tipping this game to go the way it did.
It wasn't the best start to a game we've had this season, but Oliver Roberts' early try gave me a good feeling, it was a fairly easy one for him to run in. Unfortunately, it was only 5 minutes before Rovers made it through our left edge, an area of the pitch that would prove to be a goldmine for them. There was some slippy, chaotic defence but I was willing to write that off as it was a nice little run from the attacking player. My optimism faded when they ran in another easy try on the next set of six, and took a lead they would not lose for the remaining hour.
What followed was one of the most boring, uninspiring halves of rugby you'll ever watch. Rovers completed sets and did the basics well, because there's no need to try and be flashy when your opposition is so poor.
The second half was, somehow, worse. With the exception of some good efforts from Ukuma, who was unlucky to be denied a try, we didn't look like scoring for the vast majority of the 40 minutes. The only passion and resolve we showed was in our firm commitment to not pass to our wingers, our players looked to be getting in eachothers' way more than anything.
Nothing summed up the half better than its first try, in which a prop ran 80m, outrunning our fullback, and easily fending off our Man-Of-Steel halfback, and our star-of-the-world-cup winger (who, to be fair, had to run across the field as our left winger was nowhere to be seen). The Giants simply weren't good enough, and made schoolboy errors throughout.
Ukuma had a very good game, Fergie made some big runs, and Seb had a few Seb-moments. Plus, Robbie Mulhern and Danny McGuire are in my Dream Team
I was baffled when I saw Rankin had been moved to fullback with Gaskell to stand-off. If you're going to go with that 17, then Gaskell at fullback seems like a better choice, his passing and kicking was very uninspiring last night and Rankin as our last line of defence lead to some shockers. I'm reluctant to blame these two lads, they were put in the completely wrong positions and I only hope we can learn from that going forwards. I say Gaskell should have been our fullback if we're going with that 17, but that's a big if. Darnell McIntosh was in the 19-man squad and with Mamo out, he'd have been my first choice to step in.
They didn't do much flashy stuff, but that's no criticism, because they just didn't need to! They completed their sets, they did the basics, and waited for us to slip up. Which we did, both idiomatically and literally, on every other tackle. It would be wrong to dwell too much on their form in the league so far because they turned up and played well. You're only as good as your last game, and last night Hull KR were much improved, but more importantly much better than us.
The final word
We're about to go down one of two paths. This needs to be 2018's Swinton Moment. After the appalling cup exit last year, we really kicked on and started to show better form. That needs to happen next week. I don't care how good Wigan have been lately or where they are in the table. I don't care about how notoriously hard it is to come by a win at the DW. Next week, we go over and we compete for a full 80 minutes. We work as a team, we complete sets, we show some kind of attacking threat, and even if we don't win, we put in a decent performance. If we get walked over again going into the Easter weekend, then we're in for a very difficult year.