As a double winner with former club Wigan Warriors, Iain Thornley is used to big games.
After all, he’s played in Grand Final and Challenge Cup final matches in the past – and he believes his experience of those games will stand both he and Hull KR in good stead on Saturday afternoon.
The Robins know that victory in what has been dubbed the ‘Half Million Pound Game’ will secure their Super League status for another year – and the former Wigan centre insists this ranks as importantly as any game he has played in throughout his career – including those major final triumphs.
“It’s a little bit different to what I’m used to but the mentality going into it is just the same,” Thornley said.
“They are all really tough games to be in mentally and physically.
“I was playing for trophies in the past but now it’s Super League status and it’s just as important; the game’s just as big and means just as much. It’s like a cup final. It’s a game we need to win, the biggest game of the season or our careers even as we’re playing for our jobs, bills that pay the mortgage, food on the table…
“If we don’t win we’re in the Million Game and if we lose that the club’s going down and it’s not going to be the same.”
And on a wider scale throughout the Robins squad, Thornley believes the experience of some of their big names will also be crucial – saying he does not expect KR to freeze under the spotlight on Saturday afternoon.
“It will help towards nerves but there’s real experience on our edge,” he said.
“Terry Campese played god knows how many NRL games and in State of Origin, Josh Mantellato is a really experienced winger and whether it’s Maurice Blair or Chris Clarkson too – both of them have played in big games for big clubs so there’s nobody I’d expect the pressure to get to.”
And Thornley also believes there is one other crucial aspect which will work in Hull KR’s favour at the weekend.
“Definitely having home advantage helps,” he insisted.
“We get quite a good crowd down and know how loud they are. We’ve experienced that a lot this year and it’s really helpful, especially in the tight games. The last time we played Huddersfield here it was only won by a point so having that behind us, being at home, having played on this pitch all year and knowing it a lot better: hopefully can swing it in our favour.”