Saints aiming to end Hull KR hoodoo

Paul Welens touches down

Tommy Makinson celebrates

First published in Sport

SAINTS travel to Craven Park on Sunday seeking their league first win in east Hull since 2007.

And they go there under the coach’s instruction not to undo the good work of beating Wigan against a Rovers side that have endured a patchy season due to suspensions and injuries.

The Robins do, however, remain a very capable unit and Saints will have to lay a few ghosts to rest if they are to retain their place at the Super League summit.

A point clear with just nine games to go, Saints have the League Leaders Shield in sight and in their own hands.

Although what was dismissively referred to as the ‘hub cap’ in the four consecutive years they topped the pile under Daniel Anderson, there is a feeling that taking out this prize after five years without silverware is a valid stepping-stone objective going into the business end of the season.

Saints boss Nathan Brown talks less of the silver, but more of the attitude and performances need to maintain their lofty spot.

He said: “We are there at the moment but what we don’t want to do is simply give it away like we have done twice already.

“ If we lose to someone it must be because the opposition have played really, really well.

“We are not going to be perfect every week but we want to make sure our attitude is good.

“We are in a good spot and we can control where we finish. Other sides need other teams to lose, but at the moment we have put ourselves in a spot where if we play consistently well we are going to finish in a better position in the table.

“But throw in a couple of bad ones and it’s like snakes and ladders and you go on a slide.”

With the trip to Hull KR followed by games against relegation certainties Bradford and London, and then neighbours Widnes, Saints have a run of games that they would have wished for given the absence of linchpin Luke Walsh for a month with a back muscle injury.

But Brown is certainly not underestimating Rovers – and he has a particularly high regard for pugnacious stand off Travis Burns.

“The competition is quite interesting, but the Hull KR game for me underlines that because their position on the table is false because of the injuries and suspensions.

“If they hadn’t had those troubles they would be much higher up on the ladder and people would be talking about them a bit differently. They have just brought James Green and Jordan Cox back and you saw what effect that had against Huddersfield’s big pack. They pushed them all the way,” he said.

”Behind the pack they have a terrific little player in Burnsy who has really benefitted coming to England. He was not a bad player at home. He is a far better player over here as far as his skill is concerned.

“His kicking game and his skill are improving. If he went back home he’d be a far better player for coming to England. That is as good a rap as you can give the fella.”

As for the idea that Craven Park is a bogey ground, Brown reads more into the personnel on the field on gameday rather than the venue, citing the influence of the now departed Michael Dobson had for the Robins.

“Sometimes it can be styles of play and the opposition. You look how well Michael Dobson used to play that pitch there, he was a master at putting the ball in the corner and getting repeat sets.

“Maybe that had something to do with it. Hull KR have always been around fifth and sixth for four or five years. They have always beaten the bigger sides at least once during the year, so although it’s no shame to go to Hull KR and get beat we’d like to go there and claim our first win for a while.”

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