Robins fear play-off exclusion

Frustrated Hull KR chief executive Paul Lakin fears the club could fail to meet the 18-match threshold to qualify for the Super League play-offs.

That’s after hopes of rearranging a game to replace their latest postponement came to nothing.

Rovers have suffered more Covid-related call-offs than any other club, with the trip to Salford, which should have taken place last Thursday (July 29), the seventh time they have had a match postponed.

Tony Smith’s side go into their home meeting with Catalans tonight (Monday) in round 17 of 25 having played only eleven league games.

It would have been ten had their away match against Catalans, originally scheduled for July 5 but called off, not been hastily rearranged for July 24 after Rovers’ game at St Helens became their sixth postponement (the home derby against Hull has been hit twice).

Theoretically, Rovers could have visited Huddersfield or Leigh last week, but that was not possible.

“We are naturally very frustrated,” said Lakin.

“This is our seventh consecutive postponed game and there is no doubt that the track and trace protocols are badly hurting the sport.

“As we showed by flying out to France at short notice over the weekend, we are desperate to play, but unfortunately we weren’t able to rearrange a game for 48 hours’ time.

“While neither Huddersfield nor Leigh had a game in round 16, it wasn’t possible to bring forward our away fixture to play either of them for stadium operational reasons (in addition, the Leigh versus Hull KR clash this Sunday was already scheduled for Sky coverage).

“We now look forward to playing Catalans in our first home game since the lockdown restrictions were fully lifted.

“With nine scheduled fixtures remaining, and we believe also an opportunity to play two rearranged games before the regular season concludes, we are excited and determined to give everything we’ve got to what feels to us to be the start of the second half of the season.”

Hull KR coach Tony Smith has named a 20-man squad for tonight’s visit of the Dragons. With the exception of Jimmy Keinhorst, who has gone on a short-term loan to Castleford Tigers, the squad is the same one that went down 32-30 against the Dragons in Perpignan in their last game.

Hull KR squad: 1 Adam Quinlan, 2 Ben Crooks, 3 Greg Minikin, 4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 5 Ryan Hall, 7 Jordan Abdull, 8 Albert Vete, 9 Matt Parcell, 10 Korbin Sims, 11 Brad Takairangi, 12 Kane Linnett, 13 Dean Hadley, 14 Jez Litten, 15 George Lawler, 16 George King, 18 Matty Storton, 25 Rowan Milnes, 26 Will Maher, 27 Luis Johnson, 28 Muizz Mustapha.

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.