Opposition Overview: Hull KR
Picture by Jack Wray/Super League Europe/via SWpix.com - 06/03/2021 - Super League Season 2021 Pre Season Location Video Shoot and Stills Photography Portraits. Hull KR - Korbin Sims
The race for a place in the play offs goes down to the wire this season, with the Rhinos set for a huge final game of the regular season at Emerald Headingley against top six hopefuls Hull KR, kick off 7:45pm.
2021 so far..
Following a disappointing finish to the 2020 season, which saw them finish in twelfth spot, Hull KR made a number of changes ahead of the new campaign and it looks to have paid off. A recruitment drive brought in six new players, including experienced internationals Ryan Hall, Brad Takairangi and Albert Vete.
By the end of the third round the Robins has already been involved in two Golden Point shoot outs. On the opening day of the season, a late fightback against Catalans – thanks to a hat trick from Hall – earned Hull KR a draw after 80 minutes but James Maloney made sure it was the Dragons that went home with the points. Smith’s side were then brushed aside by the champions St Helens, who nilled the Robins at the Totally Wicked Stadium, but against fellow strugglers Huddersfield Giants, the boot of Jordan Abdull earned Hull KR their first points of the campaign.
A win over Leeds was followed by a 50 point defeat at the hands of Warrington but the Robins started to climb the table again between round eight and round 10, when they beat Leigh, Salford and Wigan. Covid outbreaks caused a fractured fixture schedule as a trip to Catalans in round 13 was Hull KR’s only game between June and August but they returned to action again in round 17 and have won four out of their remaining nine games.
Last week’s game against Castleford Tigers was a factor in the play off race for both clubs. The Robins and Tigers are in the fight for a top six place and could bolster their chances with a win at Hull College Craven Park and it would be the home side that triumphed. Castleford took a 13-12 lead into the break and looked to have given themselves the upper hand with a try from Niall Evalds at the start of the second half but tries from Matt Parcell (pictured above) and Kane Linnett, plus a penalty goal from Abdull, aided Hull KR to an important 26-19 win.
Last Four Results
Former Leeds winger Ryan Hall has reintroduced himself back to life in Super League with style this season, the England international has been one of the key players in helping Hull KR sit within touching distance of the play offs.
Hall made his Super League debut after coming through Leeds’ academy in 2007 and quickly established himself as England’s most lethal wingers, topping the Rhinos’ try charts from 2009 to 2012 with over 30 tries in each season. During that time, he lifted four Grand Final trophies, one League Leaders’ Shield and two World Club titles; the winger finishing as the man of the match in Leeds’ 2012 World Club win over Manly thanks to a length of the field effort.
After winning his first Challenge Cup with another man of the match performance against Castleford Tigers in 2014, Hall was also a part of the Rhinos’ treble winning side in 2015 and Grand Final winners in 2017 before he departed for the NRL in 2019. At Sydney Roosters, Hall made a handful of appearances over two seasons before moving back to Super League to join Hull KR.
This season, he leads the club in tries scored (15) and along with centre and second row partners Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Kane Linnett, the trio have statistically been Tony Smith’s best weapons, along with Takairangi.
World Cup winner and New Zealand international Shaun Kenny-Dowall has extended his stay on the east coast after being named captain of the club for 2021.
Kenny-Dowall started his career in the NRL with Sydney Roosters, where he spent ten years. During that time, he helped the club go from winning the Wooden Spoon in 2009 to making their first Grand Final appearance in five years in 2010. Despite losing to St George Illawarra Dragons, three years later the centre scored in the 2013 Final to aid the Roosters to a 26-18 win against Manly and complete the Grand Final and minor premiership double. The Roosters would go on to win back to back minor premierships over the next two season before Kenny-Dowall was sacked in 2017.
Joining Newcastle Knights for the remainder of the 2017 season, over the next two years Kenny-Dowall and a host of signings at the club got the Knights from the bottom of the NRL to consecutive eleventh placed finishes before the Kiwi was on the move again; this time to Super League.
So far for the Robins, the 33-year-old has played a total of 36 games for the club and has nine tries over two seasons, which will no doubt increase after he signed an extension for the 2022 campaign. Along with Hall, Kenny-Dowall is one of Super League’s top carriers and metre makers and is second to David Fifita in offloads (a metric he finished third in last season).
A number of players in both Leeds and Hull KR’s squads could face their former clubs on Friday night.
Four players in Tony Smith’s side came through Leeds’ Academy programme, including Ryan Hall, Elliot Minchella, who is vice captain of Hull KR and started his career at Leeds before joining Bradford Bulls in 2015. Jimmy Keinhorst also came through the Rhinos Academy and went on to win a Grand Final ring in 2015. Muizz Mustapha is currently on loan from Leeds.
Matt Parcell is the only other player in the Robins’ ranks that has pulled on the blue and amber jersey. Signing for Leeds in 2017, the hooker has an impressive first season, winning the Grand Final and earning himself a Dream Team appearance. He helped Leeds survive the Qualifiers in 2018 but in 2019, he was loaned out to Hull KR as the Rhinos brought back Shaun Lunt. Parcell signed permanently with the Robins for the 2020 season.
Leeds second rower James Donaldson is the only Rhinos player to have played for the Robins’ in the current squad. Over four years, Donaldson featured in the 2015 Challenge Cup Final squad that lost to Leeds and was also part of the team that helped Hull KR come straight back to Super League following relegation in 2016. He played 79 times and scored 60 points before being released in 2018.
Last Game vs Leeds at Emerald Headingley
Leeds Rhinos produced a comprehensive performance to secure a 52-10 win over Hull KR at Emerald Headingley with Cameron Smith and Harry Newman both crossing for two tries whilst their was one apiece for Jack Walker, Ash Handley, James Donaldson, Konrad Hurrell and Richie Myler.
Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR will meet in a ‘winner takes all’ clash at Emerald Headingley on Friday night. The evening will also be an emotional night as the Rhinos will also say farewell to Konrad Hurrell, King Vuniyayawa, Rob Lui and Alex Sutcliffe at the final home game of the season.
You can now book your place at the biggest game of the season at Emerald Headingley at tickets.therhinos.co.uk or by calling 0371 423 1315 (Monday to Friday 10.30am – 3.30pm). Please be aware that the ticket office at Emerald Headingley Stadium is not open on non-match days.
The match will also be available to watch on Sky Sports for those unable to attend the game.