Willie Peters targets fast Super League start to Hull KR reign

WILLIE PETERS wants Hull KR to hit the ground running in 2023.

The recently-installed Australian isn’t interested in talking about a settling in period as he tackles his first head coaching role, but rather wants Rovers to signal their intent right from the off.

Peters and his players have returned from a training camp in Tenerife and, after time away from the club over Christmas and New Year, they will report back in early January to continue preparations for a campaign which starts with a home game against Wigan in front of the Channel 4 cameras on Saturday, February 18 (1pm).

Before that are pre-season matches at Featherstone (former player Craig Hall’s testimonial on Friday, January 20 and at home to Leeds on Sunday, February 5.

“I believe pre-season defines who you are in the season,” said Peters.

“We need to come back ready to go and hit the ground running.”

Peters is hoping the knowledge gained from working under some of Rugby League’s most-renowned coaches will help him power Rovers up the table after a tough 2022 campaign.

He is aiming for a big improvement on a disappointing season which brought 15 defeats in 27 games and an eighth-place finish after the Robins reached the play-off semi-finals in 2021.

Danny McGuire was in interim charge for the final ten matches following the departure of Tony Smith, and he will be the right-hand man to Peters, who was himself assistant to Adam O’Brien at Newcastle Knights before taking up a three-year contract at Sewell Group Craven Park.

The 43-year-old has also worked with Trent Barrett at Manly Sea Eagles and Anthony Seibold and Wayne Bennett at South Sydney Rabbitohs.

“I’ve learned from a lot of quality coaches, so for me, it was about picking their brains along the way,” said the former Gateshead Thunder, Wigan and Widnes halfback, who in his homeland, played for Souths and St George Illawarra Dragons.

“Now it’s about putting what I’ve picked up into what I believe in.”

Off the field, Rovers have appointed businessman and lifelong supporter James McNicol, the son of former Chairman Colin McNicol, as a non-executive director.