It is a big week for Willie Peters as he prepares for his first competitive game in charge of Hull KR.
However, he understands the challenge facing him however as he spoke about how competitive he expects Super League to be ahead of their Round One clash against Wigan Warriors.
Speaking to the press today, Peters said:
“I think it’s a pretty close competition. Naturally St Helens are the favourites and rightly so. You’ve got your teams that are up there every year in terms of where the bookies see them, but I think a lot of teams have strengthened.
“It’s going to be competitive, we’re all fighting to get into that top six and I’m sure every team goes into the start of the season thinking and wanting to be in that top six. If you’re not thinking that then you shouldn’t be at this level.
“I love the Super League and the attacking freedom style of footie that we play over here but as I said from us we need to look at tightening our defence.
“Everyone is going to have different expectations, I think the bookies have got us second last or down the bottom somewhere which is fine by me.
“Naturally you’re going to have your fan and supporter that loves a club that expects top six, us internally as I said before we’re not playing to finish outside of that six. You play to win competitions, that’s exactly where we want to be.
“I’m not going to make any massive statements saying ‘we’re going to win the competition this year’, but I will say are we striving to? Absolutely.”
As he mentioned, the Robins have been written off by the bookmakers with them 50/1 to win the Grand Final.
Peters had a terrific response: “I was thinking, ‘if I was allowed a bet I might have a bet’.
“Everyone has different opinions on where they see different teams, it’s interesting how they get that number but the thing for us is that whoever sets figures like that and predictions haven’t seen what we’ve done over the last four or five months.
“We know what we’ve done, the work we’ve done and now it’s about executing that in performances. Naturally you go through the rollercoaster of wins and losses, injuries and suspensions, there’s a lot that happens in a season.
“We know if we transfer what we’ve done in pre-season, which I know it was only a friendly but we did against Leeds, then we see ourselves playing those bigger games at the end of the year.”
When asked if he has used these odds as motivation, he said:
“To be honest I didn’t mention it at all to them, it’s a bit of a joke here but I don’t read too much into it because as I say the people who set those odds haven’t seen what we’ve done here.
“They’re got their reasons and they’ll look at squads and depths but what we’ve done is our best to develop player one to player 30 in the squad. Hopefully we don’t go into that but we’ve developed every member in the squad as if they’re going to play. If we handle a bit of adversity when we do get it, that’s when you’ll see teams performing and getting to the back end of the year.”
Speaking of adversity, the Robins dodged an instance of this when Lachlan Coote avoided a ban for his part in an altercation after a head high tackle from Leeds Rhinos’ Aidan Sezer.
On Coote, Peters said:
“Lachlan is a very important part of what we do, there’s no doubt about that. I think if you’ve got your spine playing the majority of the year and especially in those big games then you do have more of a chance come the back end of the year. Lachlan is a big part of what we do, but we’ve also got young Phoenix and Will Dagger ready to go as well. They’ve been training extremely well but it’s no secret that Lachlan is a big part for us to be successful at the back end of the year.
“He came back after a tough season with the injuries that he had and he probably needed some time off. He went back to Australia, he hadn’t been back for a few years. He went home and came back and he was a different person, he’s been all in from day one. I’ve seen a player that’s extremely determined to get better, even at his age and with what he’s done. He shows that every day at training, hasn’t missed a session and he’s important to everything we do.”