Hull KR host the Salford Red Devils in their Qualifiers opener. Here’s everything you need to know…
Hull Kingston Rovers
Two weeks on from the derby delight over Hull FC, Tim Sheens is able to recall crucial players for the Robins for the visit of Ian Watson’s Salford to KCOM Craven Park.
Captain Shaun Lunt, talisman Danny McGuire, centre Junior Vaivai and back-row duo James Greenwood and Joel Tomkins come straight back into the squad, with all five set to play a huge role in the opening Qualifiers clash.
Maurice Blair and Mose Masoe are both unavailable through suspensions, whilst Lee Jewitt is out with concussion.
One man who could be paramount in ensuring KR’s survival is ex-Salford man Tommy Lee.
The hooker is back in the Robins squad for the first time since the 52-22 Super League thrashing of the Red Devils a month ago, but form and history will count for nothing at KCOM Craven Park tomorrow night.
Having survived 2015’s Qualifiers with ease at Salford as well as watching the Devils relegate Rovers from the sidelines in 2016’s Million Pound Game, Lee knows exactly what pressures lie ahead and hopes to clinch an opening victory in round one.
Hull KR 19-man squad: Quinlan, Vaivai, McGuire, Scruton, Lunt, Greenwood, Kavanagh, Donaldson, Clarkson, Lee, Mulhern, Salter, Atkin, Oakes, Tickle, Tomkins, Carney, Hall, Crooks.
Salford Red Devils
New signing Joey Lussick it set to make his Red Devils debut following his arrival at the AJ Bell Stadium just under a fortnight ago.
Fellow Australian Jackson Hastings retains his place in the side despite leaving the field early in his impressive debut against Leeds Rhinos in the final Betfred Super League game of the regular season.
Following a minor spell on the sidelines, Kris Welham returns to the 19-man squad to face his former club, while Craig Kopczak may also feature.
Gavin Bennion and Levy Nzoungou are the two changes from the squad named to take on Leeds Rhinos.
Logan Tomkins, Jack Littlejohn, George Griffin, Kriss Brining and Luke Burgess remain unavailable.
Salford 19-man squad: Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Kopczak, Jones, Flanagan, Tasi, Lannon, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Wood, Olpherts, Mossop, Bibby, Murray, Chamberlain, Hastings, Lussick.
KR ran out comfortable victors in the two sides’ last encounter, winning 52-22 at KCOM Craven Park, but both squads have evolved in the month that has passed since. Salford did beat the East Hull side on their own turf in the spring, but the Robins do usually get the better of their opponents on soil and the home crowd will be fully expecting their men to get the win.
KEY BATTLE – Todd Carney (Hull KR) vs Jansin Turgut (Salford)
The key battle in this physical duel will be between Todd Carney and Jansin Turgut. With both men boasting impressive stature coupled with the ability to drive their team forwards, the pattern of the game may well be dictated by the pair, along with their full-back teammates.
What adds extra spice to the occasion, is that numerous players featuring in Friday’s showdown have played for the opposition, and that includes Carney. The stand-off, who can also play as half-back or full-back, signed for KR only last month, so if he does turn out to be the match winner it will add even more fire to the occasion.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 10th August
Venue: KCOM Craven Park
Referee: Robert Hicks