It’s a new era in both halves of Hull with former KR boss Tony Smith crossing the city to take the top spot at the MKM, whilst he’s been replaced by fellow Australian Willie Peters.
With the new era at Craven Park there are high hopes for the Robins, a new boss, a new chairman and plenty of new players as well including three NRL imports.
One of those three NRL signings is Tom Opacic, a 28-year-old centre who has joined from Parramatta Eels.
Typically when you see Australian NRL stars come over they’re either learning the game or nearing the end but Opacic has arrived in his prime to take on the challenge at KR, and he’s even left 2022 grand finalists Parramatta to do so.
A huge coup for Willie Peters and he’s shown that already in pre-season as he was the shining light from a poor performance against Featherstone, before once again excelling in the victory over Leeds in which he scored a try.
At the Super League launch he’s now gone on record making a bold claim about Rovers’ hopes for 2023.
“We want to be the best. That’s why we’re all here, to win the comp,” he stated. “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
That type of optimism and elite mentality is one that KR will need because they’ve got a young side with all the talent in the world, however an injury crisis in 2022 and a failure to be consistent scuppered any playoff chances.
A return to the playoffs, and potentially even a semi-final run like they managed in 2021, could be on the cards if they can all click and Opacic will be key.
Whilst he’s eager to get toe season underway for obvious reasons, another reason why Opacic wants to get the ball rolling is so he can head into the summer and put the winter behind him.
He explained how his eyebrows went number on a “cold and rainy morning in Hull”, which unfortunately could be something he may have to get used to given he’s signed a two-year deal at Craven Park.