After a turbulent 2018 campaign which saw them battle it out in the Qualifiers yet again, Hull KR will want to push on in 2019. We look back at their 2018 season to see whether better things are on the horizon.
2018 Club Record
Competition Points: 17 after regular season (10th), 10 in Qualifiers (3rd)
2018 Player Achievements
Most Tries: Ryan Shaw (12)
Most Points: Ryan Shaw (158)
Hull Kingston Rovers suffered a turbulent 2018 campaign, with a severe injury list for the most part of the season contributing to a difficult return to Super League.
A return to form in the back-end of the regular fixture list made evading the dreaded Qualifiers a real possibility, but more injuries and a couple of shaky defensive performances ultimately saw Rovers confined to the ‘middle 8’s’ for the third consecutive season; albeit securing their top flight status comfortably, with five wins in seven games.
KR’s season was awash was controversial matches containing many contentious refereeing decisions, but despite this there was one game that will never be tainted in memory. The 16-20 derby win against bitter rivals Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium in July.
Craig Hall scored twice on his second debut for the East Hull side to condemn his former employers to an unexpected home defeat. Danny Tickle also crossed the whitewash and kicked five goals to send the Rovers fans home delighted.
Although that win will be the fans’ favourite of 2018, the best win from a league-standings viewpoint has to be the 36-38 comeback win over Leeds Rhinos in the Qualifiers. A tit-for-tat battle against the Champions showcased all of their attacking talent and, while also exposing Rovers’ lack of defensive metal, KR triumphed in West Yorkshire thanks to a sterling performance from half-back combination Danny McGuire and Chris Atkin, and a hat-trick from that man Craig Hall again.
Other notable achievements this season included Maurice Blair making his 100thappearance for the Robins with Tommy Lee surpassing 250 career games and Robbie Mulhern made his 100th career appearance in a season which everyone at Rovers will see as a success
KR survived relegation by the skin of their teeth, but had their safety in their own hands for the majority of the Qualifiers. Once again, safety must be the first port of call as they look to build a squad capable of pushing up the league. Highlighting their ambition, Rovers announced the arrival of NRL Grand Final winner Kane Linnett on a three-year deal this week. This side showed attacking talent throughout the 2018 season and if they can harness that, add a few more quality names to the squad and cut out those sloppy defensive errors, a surge up the table could be a possibility in the 2019 campaign.
NothingButLeague Player of the Season – Chris Atkin
Atkin is the feel-good story of the Hull KR side. P laying semi-professional rugby at Swinton Lions just 18 months ago, the half-back has had the season of his career in red and white which has been capped off with an England Knights call up to face Papua New Guinea. There were many times in 2018 when Rovers needed someone to step up to the plate and pull them over the line and when called upon, Atkin took responsibility to haul his side to victory on numerous occasions.
2019 GAINS AND LOSSES
Jimmy Keinhorst (Leeds, 3 years), Ryan Lannon (Salford Red Devils, 3 years), Weller Hauraki (Salford Red Devils, 2 years), Mitch Garbutt (Leeds Rhinos, 3 years), Kane Linnett (North Queensland Cowboys, 3 years)
Ben Kavanagh (Halifax RLFC), Liam Salter (York City Knights), Matty Marsh (York City Knights), Chris Clarkson (released), Justin Carney (released), Andrew Heffernan (released), Danny Tickle (retired), Kieren Moss (released), Jordan Walne (released), Brad Clavering (released), James Donaldson (released), Todd Carney (released), Maurice Blair (released), Thibault Franck (released)