Rovers already looking towards next season

Hull KR coach Tony Smith is already looking towards next season as he works to build on the achievements of 2021.

Rovers came within 80 minutes of a maiden Grand Final appearance, claiming an impressive play-off eliminator win at Warrington before Thursday’s 28-10 semi-final defeat by table-topping Catalans Dragons in France.

That represents a notable improvement on last year, when Smith’s side finished bottom of the table, having gained only three wins.

Australian fullback Lachlan Coote, who is set to finish a three-year stint at St Helens with a Grand Final appearance against Catalans on Saturday, is the most eye-catching of a number of new recruits.

Rovers have also agreed contract extensions with a string of players, and Smith, who has been at the helm since June 2019, said: “We’ll take until Wednesday to review the season, before having a break.

“Then we’ll get back into it in early to mid-November to get ready for next season.”

Smith says Rovers’ supporters have made a major contribution to the progress made by his team – and can carry on doing so.

“I can’t fault our home and away support at all this year. It’s shown how much we missed them through the pandemic (when matches were behind closed doors).

“They’ve made a massive impression on us. Hopefully we have on them as well. We want to keep doing it together.”

Meanwhile club owner Neil Hudgell tweeted: “A privilege to be in Perpignan (for the semi-final. Congrats to the Dragons, worthy finalists.

“Enormous credit to Tony, the team, staff and Paul (Lakin, chief executive) for our progress this year.

“It’s beyond where we might have expected to be, but sets the baseline for next year’s standards.”

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.