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“It’ll be a tough encounter” – Hull KR boss not writing FC off despite huge favouritism

Hull KR coach Willie Peters

Hull KR head coach Willie Peters has lauded former Robins boss and current Hull FC boss Tony Smith, labelling the 57-year-old as the best man to right the ship in West Hull.

For much of the Super League era of rugby league, it could be argued that it has been the Black and White side of the city that has found more success, but the tide has certainly turned of late.

The Robins have made the play-off semi-finals of Super League in two of the last three seasons, one such run coming under Tony Smith, whilst FC haven’t even played play-off rugby during those three campaigns.

Despite that, the head-to-head record across those three seasons sits at three wins a piece, with Hull KR’s opening day win this season edging the Robins in front for wins since the start of 2021.

Two of Hull FC’s wins have actually come at Craven Park though so there could still be an upset this week despite the poor form that FC find themselves in, and Willie Peters has since told the press that if any man is to turn their fortunes around then it is Tony Smith.

FC have recorded consecutive losses in which they’ve shipped 50 points or more whilst losing five of their six games and failing to keep 13 men on the pitch in each and every match.

As such the pressure from fans, particularly on social media, has ramped up on Tony Smith with plenty calling for his job but Peters has backed Smith as the man for the FC job and commented more generally on teams finding themselves in ruts.

Speaking to the press, he said: “If you’re a decent human and you’ve got respect, which we all do for each other, then you never want to see coaches lose their job or anything like that.

“It’s not nice and every coach is going to be in that position one day,” Peters added when speaking generally about teams going through lulls of poor form.

“All we can control is us” – Hull KR boss not listening to the noise about derby day expectations

Hull KR head coach Willie Peters speaking with a microphone

Credit: Imago Images

Hull KR are a side that has avoided a possible lull by snapping their two-game losing streak by putting two wins together in impressive fashion.

Their Super League victory on the road against Huddersfield Giants was mightily impressive with poor kicking and late tries making the 24-12 scoreline far more flattering to Ian Watson’s side than the performance reflected.

That victory has been backed up by a massive 40-0 win over Salford Red Devils in the Challenge Cup which avenged the Super League loss incurred in round three, and the Robins will now look to make it three in a row against their cross-city rivals.

Bookmakers, pundits and fans seem to be expecting an easy win for Hull KR but Willie Peters has explained that the form book can go out of the window in a derby.

He said: “Derby games, anything can happen, regardless of the derby, regardless of where teams are on the ladder, we know what FC will bring on Friday. We know that they’re going to play better and improve on what they have. So we’re expecting a tough encounter.

“I mean, the first game saw the score end up getting away at the end, they had a player who had sent off, but it was a tough physical game. So we’re expecting that again and we’re looking forward to it.”

He even suggested that the Black and Whites could use their current form for motivation, explaining that is how he’d approach the game, stating: “I think it probably gives them more motivation to turn their season around against their rivals. I know that’s what I’d be saying if we’re in that position, there’s no better way to turn your season around.

“We know what they’re going to bring and they’re going to come out hard and they did the first round, they’ll do it again. But again, all we can control is us.”

“I respect Tony and what he’s done, he’s the most experienced coach in the game but we both want to win.”

A win would see Hull KR cement their position in the playoffs with the current top four of Super League boasting far better points differences, however, the Robins could have a chance to increase their tally with their next two games against Friday’s opponents in Hull FC and London Broncos a week later, two of the current bottom three teams in the competition.

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