Smith ready for Tigers challenge

Hull KR coach Tony Smith has been making the most of his side’s fixture break as he plots a bounce-back win over Castleford in round six of Super League on Monday, May 17.

Last month’s Challenge Cup elimination against Daryl Powell’s Tigers meant a watching brief when the quarter-finals took place on Friday and Saturday.

And Smith, whose side went down 50-26 at Warrington last time out, dashing hopes of a third straight victory, has taken the plusses from the situation.

“I’d have preferred us to be involved in the Cup, but it wasn’t to be,” said Smith, whose team beat Huddersfield and Leeds before losing to Warrington in a run of matches against the clubs he previously coached.

“On the other side of the coin, the players have been working really hard, with big matches in terms of golden points and longer-than-usual time on the pitch and hopefully the break will prove to be of value to us.”

Smith hopes former New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm forward Albert Vete, who missed the Warrington match with a hamstring niggle, will be fit to return.

And he hopes pointers will have been noted from the trip to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, where it was level at 22-22 at half-time.

“They’ve got good character about them and they learn. They know and talk about it, and are smart among themselves as well,” he said of his players.

“We’ve talked about it – all sensible stuff – and we’ll look forward to the challenges ahead.

“In some of those we’re going to have smiles on our faces, in some of them, we’re not.

“But I think we’ve got the makings of a pretty decent rugby team at this point in time.”

Loose-forward Elliot Minchella, out for the season with a knee injury on which he had surgery last week, is the only certain Rovers absentee.

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