Crooks confident Robins will improve

Hull Kingston Rovers winger Ben Crooks feels his side did themselves no disservice in their narrow derby defeat to Hull FC and he believes the Robins’ new-look squad will only continue to improve.
Crooks is one of a relatively small number of faces still at Craven Park to survive from their previous clash with the Black and Whites last June.
Even so, Rovers laid down a stern challenge to their rivals at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night and Crooks, who was being watched by his father Lee from the stand, believes that there are only better things to come, pointing to their collective ethic that was drilled into the Rovers’ squad during pre-season.
“We’ve got a great squad with great talent and everybody in the team’s got ability,” he told League Express afterwards.
“That comes from the hard work that we’ve put in. We’re allowed to play like that because, if it doesn’t come off and we make a mistake, we’re not panicking about having to defend.
“We’re positive, and we’re confident about defending. If we do come up with a mistake in attack, it allows us the freedom and the ability to play like that.”
For significant periods of the game Rovers often found themselves in the ascendancy against their rivals and the 26-year-old feels that they showed enough to feel proud of themselves.
“We did really well for most of the game,” Crooks added.
“Unfortunately we coughed ball up in the wrong area. It was too much in the second half and that’s what initially burned us out.
“We fronted up really well against their big pack in the first half and shifted the ball around a lot. We’ll go away and work on those little facets of the game and we’ll be the better for it next week.
“Hull, are going really well. I know we’re only two games in, but they are playing well and you can’t afford to give teams like that the position that we did.”
Crooks’ move to east Hull in 2018 means he holds the distinction of having played on both sides of the city’s most famous rivalry and he admits that such a fixture may mean more for him than some of his team-mates.
“Games like this mean different things to different people,” he added.
“A couple of guys don’t have that connection with it. But obviously, I have my family ties – I’ve always been invested in derby day.”