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Smith confident in Robins’ playoff credentials

Hull KR Head Coach Tony Smith admitted he knew back in pre-season that his side were play-off contenders.

The Robins currently sit fifth in the Super League table with only one game remaining, their highest ranking since their  fourth place finish back in 2009.

The last two years saw the club finish 11th, with many at the start of 2021 tipping for another long hard season for the East Yorkshire side.

However, they have defied all expectation and now have a golden opportunity to book themselves in the play-offs but Smith remains unfazed by the transformation, believing his side were capable from the very start.

He said: “When we were in pre-season, before a ball was kicked, they are a good group of people and I knew the right sort of material about them.

“The grit and desire was there to see before the season kicked off. It was only everybody else that we convinced by doing what we have done to change their minds.

“I thought it last year too so I have been wrong before but this year, with our recruitment we have got this year, it certainly improved us.

“I would have been surprised had we have not improved a whole lot but other people were probably making their assessments of us but it was in pre-season that I thought we had a shot of doing okay this year.”

With play-off rugby looming on the horizon for the first time in eight years, the Robins face arguably the specialists at the business end of the year in the Leeds Rhinos in a huge game. But Smith is not getting carried away.

After losing both Ryan Hall and Greg Minikin last week to season ending injuries, Smith is hopeful he can maintain as many bodies for the prospect for an assault on Old Trafford.

He added: “We are not getting carried away, we are just focusing on this week. We have put ourselves in a position where we are at least on the door knocking.

“My other caveat to when I think we were doing ‘alright’ is, in this case for every team, depends on how many injuries you get to key players.

“You could be one of the top teams with a really proud history and you cop a few blows in crucial positions to crucial people and that can dislodge your whole season.

“Fortunately we have been pretty good until the back end. We have some bumps and bruises here now but we have had an incredible season in terms of lack of injuries, especially to crucial people.”

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