Jordan Abdull is back in the mix at Hull KR after an injury hit 2022 season.
He was sensation in 2021 and was in the reckoning for the Man of Steel and picked for England against France that autumn.
After losing that momentum last year, he told the press yesterday just how driven his is:
“Massively, personally I’m driven to get back to the form that got me representing my country but doing it more consistently.
But I’ve got that drive to really win something this year, I want to win something as a group and that makes you want to be better personally as well. We’ve spoke about the pre-season and the effort we’ve put in, it’d be a shame to not see us achieve that end goal and I think that’s what drives you as a player, to not be the one person to let everyone down.
“We’ve all worked hard for three or four months, we’ve done the tough bit, it’s time for the playing and to enjoy stuff now.”
He also praised the group they have and the effect of new boss Willie Peters:
“We’ve always been quite a tight group. I don’t think you can go through what we’ve been through and not be a tight group, especially last year with the injuries, the changing of coach halfway through the year and all the stuff like that.
“As much as we weren’t playing great, you could never fault our effort or attitude and I think that shows we’re a connected group. This year we’ve gone way past that, Willie’s come in and we had the Tenerife camp which was hard work but also about being around each other for 10 days.
“It’s going to be ‘if we’re going to last under Willie Peters’, it won’t be the other way round. If we want to still be playing then we have to work hard and do exactly what he wants.
“That’s a refreshing thing about a new coach, everyone starts from scratch really and reputation means nothing.”
Naturally he is very confident of making the play-off as consequence: “I’m really confident, you look at our squad and the depth that we’ve got this year just with the quality of players we’ve got. I go into this season fully confident that playoffs should be the bare minimum of what this club should be able to get to.”
Perhaps this is due in part to their new signings:
“They bring experience. Hopefully they can stay injury free, unfortunately some of the boys last year that have moved on weren’t great at being on the field and that’s no disrespect.
“Bringing in Rhys (Kennedy), Jesse (Sue) and Tom (Opacic) who were all playing a lot last year so they’re coming off the back of a tough year in Australia, which is obviously a fantastic competition so them coming over here and getting them at the right point in their career as well.
“Especially Rhys and Tom, we’re getting them as they’re about to hit their prime, and Jesse who’s just a couple of years older will almost be like that father figure for the pack. Especially for the young kids that we’ve got coming through.
“In terms of the English talent that we’ve brought in, obviously we’ve got Batch and he’s probably been our best trainer of the pre-season. He was a little bit of an unknown until last season, I think that was his best year at Wakefield so for us to be able to sign him as he’s starting to find his way is exciting for the club.”
Of course, the Robins begin the season against Wigan Warriors who Abdull described as the ultimate test but said if both teams play their best, the Robins will win:
“They’re the ultimate test aren’t they? They did a job on us last year in round one so there’s that as well. They’ll be disappointed in the way they finished their season last year, for all money it was going to be Saints Wigan Grand Final last year and then they get beat by Leeds.
“They probably have been taken to some dark places throughout pre-season as well and they’ll want to address that as early as possible and show what they’re about this year.
“We’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a tough fixture, that’s a team that should have probably got to the Grand Final last year so we’re going to be at our ‘A’ game to come away with a win.
“If both teams come in with their ‘A’ game then I’m confident that it’s us that come away with the points.”