Hull Kingston Rovers

Hull KR 4-22 Giants

  • 19:45 | Friday 21st Feb 2020
  • KCOM Craven Park, Hull
  • Betfred Super League Round 4
Last year it took the Huddersfield 8 games to get three Super League wins under their belt. The year before it took 14 attempts before we managed it against Widnes -- that's half the season. We haven't won all three of our opening fixtures since 2013, where we comfortably saw off St Helens, London Broncos and Wigan Warriors, in a season that will no doubt be memorable to any Cowbeller. This Friday, Simon Woolford's Huddersfield Giants will head to East Hull and look to update that particular record.
Yes, it's far too early to jump to conclusions after just two games, but after several disappointing early seasons in recent years, you can forgive Huddersfield fans for relishing the prospect of a flawless February, particularly one spent entirely on the road.

Hull KR

Off the back of a 9-try thrashing last week, Hull KR will be desperate to pick up a win and do everything possible to work towards staying up in 2020. That is, unfortunately, looking like an uphill struggle. With Jamie Ellis a late withdrawal last week, Rovers will also be without Jordan Abdull for Friday night's game, leaving them with only one experienced halfback in Ryan Brierley. With Joe Keyes and Mikey Lewis are the two youngsters in line to join him, you can't shake the feeling there's a lack of experience and leadership in their ranks right now.
On top of that, any questions about their poor result last weekend can be answered with a quick glance at the stats, as they missed a whopping 66 tackles. For context, Huddersfield and Salford combined missed 39 on the same night.
It's going to be a difficult outing for the Robins, and they'll need someone who can work towards remedying some of the above. With that in mind, their key man will be Robbie Mulhern. Of the big tacklers last week, he missed the fewest (with a respectable, if not mind-blowing 30/33), and with his experience both in Super League and with the England Knights, he'll need to step up and try to breathe some fire into a struggling side.

Huddersfield

It's just one change for the Giants, as Jake Wardle comes back in for Jordan Turner (who's carrying a minor hamstring issue but will likely be fit for our home opener against Wigan). With that in mind, I'd expect an identical squad to the one we saw in Perpignan, with Sam Wood keeping his place in the side and that huge bench doing its thing.
If I had one complaint from our performance at Salford, it's that our kicking game left a lot to be desired -- although there may be a good reason for that. Speaking at a Supporters Association Q&A this week, Sezer mentioned he was carrying a minor calf injury Friday night, which -- according to him -- is now cleared up. If our pack can keep up its good form, you can expect to see the more unpredictable, exciting attacking rugby we've been after for years
And while a lot of eyes will be on our halves for this, our key man will be Adam O'Brien. After a solid effort both ways against Salford, his speed from dummy half will likely be too much for Tony Smith's side to handle.

Where the game will be won

At the risk of seeing this paragraph ironically tweeted after we lose 60-0, I think we'll be looking to not only win this game, but get a good start on our points difference. KR need to seriously improve major parts of their game and I don't see that happening with two of their first-choice halfbacks now missing.
But we need to not let ourselves frustrated if things don't go to plan right away. Stick to the gameplan, complete sets, and eventually we should see it out
Hull Kingston Rovers
2Ben Crooks
3Shaun Kenny-Dowall
4Kane Linnett
5Greg Minikin
8Robbie Mulhern
9Matt Parcell
12Harvey Livett
13Dean Hadley
14Mitch Garbutt
15George Lawler
16Daniel Murray
17Kyle Trout
18Jez Litten
19Will Dagger
20Mikey Lewis
24Joe Keyes
25Matty Gee
26Will Maher
27Elliot Minchella
28Matthew Storton
31Ryan Brierley