WILLIE PETERS says that his early appointment as Hull KR coach was hugely beneficial for building relationships with his new players.
The Robins have recently avoided the cold snap in the UK, instead spending ten days training in the warmth of Tenerife on a pre-season camp.
Peters is hoping to bring his squad closer together during the trip but had a significant head-start by speaking regularly to most of them since he first secured the job in May.
Although still in Australia, working as an assistant coach at NRL club Newcastle Knights, Peters was closely involved in planning for the 2023 season and he was communicating with the players too.
“I’m grateful that I was appointed early because it put me in a position to be able to connect with players,” said Peters.
“I did try to get through as many players as I could from Australia to build a relationship with them; that’s important to me.
“My number one philosophy is around relationships, so I was grateful for the opportunity to do that.
“Then, when I came over here, being able to meet face to face, I got over before the Grand Final. I left a week after our (Newcastle’s) last game because I wanted to get settled with the family and get into it.”
Peters was able to do plenty of research by watching all Hull KR’s matches last season, though he waited until arriving, after building those initial relationships, before going into detail with players on their own games.
“You are watching it going ‘what would I do in this situation?'” admitted Peters of watching the Robins last term.
“I watched every one of our games and a lot of Super League, not only Hull KR games. What it gave me was a real understanding of each individual.
“Coming over here, the first thing is to build a relationship with players. But when we went on to talk about their game, they knew I’d taken the time to review their game and review the team’s game.
“They’re a great team, and what I admire most about this team is that they don’t give up, and they’re willing to work hard and get better.
“They took that feedback on board, they knew it was coming from a good place, but I certainly gave feedback around what they were doing well also.
“There were times in games last year we were going to get beaten on the scoreboard but we weren’t beaten on effort and were trying hard to win the game.
“But there’s no doubt we can be a little bit smarter at times. We can get into the grind a little better and stay in it. Mentally there are some areas I was looking at how we can improve.
“We have changed quite a few things but we haven’t changed who we are as a group.”