Hull KR are sitting in seventh spot in Super League with a semi-final date for the Challenge Cup lined up but prior to then they face Leigh Leopards.
Forward Matty Storton spoke to the press ahead of the match against Leigh and he detailed the season so far as well as what’s to come.
Round 16 win over Wakefield
“Yeah, a big win. We need to kick start our league season again. Obviously, we won the Challenge Cup, we were able to get away from the Super League for a week.
“But yeah, we’re really focusing on the next four games before the semi-finals. So we want to win all the games, but it’s a tough couple of games coming up. We’re really looking to get back to winning ways.
“We’re not starting the league again, but really put a big emphasis on these next four games because I feel like if we win these next four, it will set us up in good stead for the rest of the season and the semi-final against Wigan.”
“Leigh play a lot of good shape so we’ve been working really hard on defending that but obviously we’re just focused on us. It’s about the things we do and working on them really well.
“They’ve always been a good team. Last year in the Championship, they kept quite a lot of players from the Championship.
“Yeah, it’s a big jump up, but they’ve proved a lot of people wrong. They’re in the semi-finals as well, they’re going well in the league.
“Every game is a tough game in the Super League, even Wakey last game, that was a really tough game. I thought it was really tough, they went set for set with us, so yeah we really have to give respect and we’re up for the challenge on a Friday night.”
His season so far
“It’s been a bit up and down really. “At the start of the season against Wigan, I was on the bench, but I got injured, a recurring toe injury.
“I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, it’s been the worst injury I’ve ever had and then I couldn’t really get back in the team then, so it was quite frustrating. I
“kept my head down, worked hard away from training. There have been a couple of injuries, I’ve took my chance now. I think I’m progressing every week. It’s been good so far.”
His game time
“I wouldn’t say I’ve been underused but obviously last year I think there were a lot of injuries and you were playing longer minutes and I feel like when you play less minutes now you can go harder.
“A lot of times when you play longer minutes you always preserve some and something has to give but now I think I’m playing less minutes but I’m contributing more to the team, going harder, and I feel like that’s really working for me this season.”
Being in and out of the team at various times
“I think you just need to stay strong, really. As me as a person, I don’t really get too down about it. I obviously get down, but I don’t really throw the dummy out or out. I just obviously train hard.
“So when I’m away from rugby, I don’t think about it too much at all. As soon as I start to train, I’m working hard to get back in the team.
“It’s frustrating to be the 18th man, it’s good to see the boys winning but I’d rather be out there. I’m trying to take my chance at the moment and I’m still in the team. I’m just doing alright.”
Coach Willie Peters’ demands
“He wants me to work hard, do the 1%ers. I’ve been doing that, but I need to add something else like add an offload.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve been using my feet and contacts. I’ve been trying to bring that into my game. He’s been trying to challenge me on that every week.
“It’s good. The last couple of games I’ve been doing alright. I just need to keep building my game, get more match fitness. I’m hoping I’m good stuff for the rest of the year.”
Assessing the season at half way
“Obviously we’ve won the last two games. I think before the last two games, we were a bit away from what we are as a team, but I think we’re back in stead now for what we are, what we built through pre-season, the start of the season.
“I think we’re getting back to that now. So I think we’re all, as a group, we’re really confident at the moment. We’re ready to go and attack this last half of the season.”
Dealing with squad injuries
“Yeah, we’ve lost big players like Jesse, Batch, Ethan Ryan. Obviously, Abdull’s a big miss but I think the lads who’ve come in have done a really good job.
“Rowan’s come in and he’s won man of the match last two weeks. He’s a good player. It’s been frustrating for him as well, but he’s took his chance now.
“The likes of Yusuf and Sam Luckley has been stepping up really well and George King so I think whoever’s wearing that shirt, always has to do a job and they’ve been doing really well.”
Proving doubters wrong
“I’ve not taken it personally but I’ve took it like I just want to be back in that team. and feel like I deserve to be in the team every week, so I just try my hardest every week.
“Do the little things, especially away from training, but do my better recovery. Try and get my best mental and physical shape to play every week and perform at a nice level.
“I think I’ve changed that a lot in my game since last year. I think a lot of it’s away from rugby. I think I’ve improved a lot of that and I think that’s put me in good stead for this year so far. So yeah, I’m just really committed this year.”
Moving to Hull
“That’s one of the big things as well. So I was travelling nearly three hours to get the training, three hours back. So now I only live like 10-15 minutes away, so I think that’s changed my game.
“Travelling everywhere, by the back end of it there I did for nearly three years and it was killing me by the end. So I think that’s really helped me.
“It was a big decision moving over away from family and obviously I do miss the family but I think it’s for the greater good.”
Recalling the last minute loss to Leigh
“Thinking about Leigh, they never go away. Obviously, scoring the last minute try and I think we also had a couple of switch offs in that game.
“I think we’re a lot better though from that, we’ve learned from that. It really hurts, that game, so we’ll see if we can get one back on them but it’s going to be a challenge Friday night. We’ve prepped really well this week, so we’re looking forward to it.
“We’re just going to stick to our processes and see what happens.
“It would be a big win and a big message because Leigh are flying at the moment. Everybody’s talking about Leigh and how good they are but we know how good we are as a team as well.
“I think it sends strong messages out for the table. It’s very tight at the moment, so getting two points is really valuable for any team at the moment.”
Thoughts on Lachlan Coote
“It’s a big miss. Lachlan Coote is one of our leaders in the group. He had a great career. I used to watch him as a kid when I was coming through, I’d watch him at Saints.
“He’s a real professional. He’s going to be missed. It’s a big decision for him and his family, but I think it’s the right one.
“Obviously, a concussion is a big thing. I think he’s made the right decision, but he’s going to be really missed.”
Previewing the derby
“The derby is a massive game for the club and FC have improved in the last five or six games so I think they’re a completely different team to when we last played them. I think they’ve got more confidence now but we’re up for the task.
“We’re not focused on that game at the moment, but it’s in our back of the minds. We’ve put it away for this week and we’re all focused on Leigh.”
Praise for Brett Delaney as coach
“He’s been really good. I’ve really enjoyed working with him so far. We had a brutal pre-season.
“We were in the wrestling room, we were in there three times a week for an hour, just working hard.
“I think that’s what we’re missing a bit. I think, while I’ve been here, we’ve never really had like a proper, like a coach who’s focused on the D-side and wrestle side.
“So he’s brought in like a really steely mentality and our wrestle has been a lot better this year. The hard pre-season has come good and we’re doing better in the middle this year.
“The D is a tough part of the game. I think to do well with your attack, you put your effort in your attack, you get your rewards in the back of the game, but you also need to attack if you focus on the D.
“I’ve really been focusing on my D this year, doing a lot of things, a lot of things people don’t really see like inside pressures, scraps on the floor when you lose balls, I think that’s a massive part we all focus on as a full pack this year. I think it’s really helped us in games.”
Challenge Cup Semi-Final
“Yeah I know 100% it’s going to be a big game at Headingley, I think we’ve sold out almost so it’s going to be a class atmosphere.
“Obviously Wigan are a really good team but like I said we’ll put that in the queue for now, we’re going to focus on it in a couple of weeks but it’s obviously in the back of our minds.
“It’s good to have another shot because I’ve been to the semi-final, quarter-final, and I’ve never pushed on to Wembley, so it’ll be good to get there. But it’s going to be a big challenge against Wigan.”