Connor previews Hull derby

He is arguably the most vilified player in the Betfred Super League, and tonight Jake Connor will take to the pitch again, in the latest instalment of what is arguably rugby league’s fiercest discord.

Having played a starring role in his team’s opening round win at Emerald Headingley last week, the half back is looking forward to another blood-and-thunder battle with the old enemy at the KCOM Stadium.

He said: “Obviously the Hull Derby is a big one, we needed to get off to a good start leading up to this week and we’ve done that.

“Now we’ve got the first match out of the way, we can fully concentrate on this week, it’s a short turnaround for us but we know we’ve got to be prepared.”

How does this match differ from other games, for a player who has played in the Challenge Cup Final and in internationals?

“It’s probably just the atmosphere and all the build-up, sometimes it can be hostile, but I know it’s the sort of games you want to play in.

“I’ve played in my share of them now, and I just love playing in them, it’s a great occasion and it’s even better when you get the win.”

This year he has been handed the iconic number six shirt by coach Lee Radford; how does it feel?

“It feels really good, obviously it’s the first time I’ve ever had a starting number in my career.

“That’s kind of an achievement in itself, and it’s a massive confidence just to get the nod to play behind a pack like this, who wouldn’t want to play behind a pack like this?”

Is he aware, as a player, of what the commentators from Sky are saying about him?

“Yeah, we all watch the televised games back sometimes, it’s like making your own review of how you played.

“We are aware of what they say, but at the end of the day, they’ve got a job to do, and I’ve got a job to do.”

Does the fact that they are coming up against a very new opposition, and their impressive start last week, change anything leading into this game?

“No, definitely not.

“Those of us who have played in a few Hull Derbies know what it’s about now, we know how to prepare. Last year we put 50+ on them at home, so I think we’re hoping to replicate that again.”

Could this being their first time back at the KCOM Stadium since that humiliation there on Good Friday last year be a bit of a psychological deficit for Rovers?

“No, I don’t think so.

“They’re a new team, so a lot of them won’t have experienced it before, so who knows what’s going to happen on the day? But I’ve got every confidence in the team we’ve got.”

Have the new faces been briefed about what is coming?

“Radders likes to make his motivational speeches during Derby Week, so they’ll know what to expect.

“We’re just excited, and looking forward to a big crowd. We know we’ve set the bar high in round one at Leeds, so we know what’s expected of us.”

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