Following their promotion back to the Super League, we assess the prospects of Hull Kingston Rovers ahead of the 2018 campaign.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Chris Atkin (Swinton Lions), Tommy Lee (St Helens), Mose Masoe (St George Illawarra Dragons), Danny McGuire (Leeds Rhinos), Jordan Walne (Salford Red Devils), Thibault Franck (Catalans Dragons), Will Dagger (Warrington Wolves), Connor Williams (Salford Red Devils)
Ben Cockayne (York City Knights), Mitch Clark (Castleford Tigers), George Milton (Bradford Bulls), Jamie Ellis (Castleford Tigers, loan expired), Jordan Abdull (Hull FC, loan expired), Graeme Horne (York City Knights), Zach Dockar-Clay (Townsville Blackhawks), Will Jubb (York City Knights), Jake Bulter-Fleming (York City Knights)
Wakefield Trinity (H), Leeds Rhinos (A), Catalans Dragons (H), Salford Red Devils (A), Castleford Tigers (H)
WHAT TO EXPECT
In 2017 Hull Kingston Rovers secured promotion back to Super League at the first time of asking, and they even avoided the Million Pound Game which so cruelly consigned them to the Championship a year earlier. They will be hoping to build on the success of last season in 2018, with the aim of finishing in the top eight.
It will be a big ask for Tim Sheens’ men, especially as their halfback pairing of Jamie Ellis and Jordan Abdul have departed. The duo was crucial in their promotion back to the top flight, with the former signing for Castleford Tigers and the latter returning to his parent club Hull FC. Abdul managed to find his way to the try line 12 times in his 23 appearances, while Ellis landed an impressive 157 goals while also scoring nine tries in his 30 games.
Both will be missed, however with the addition of Leeds Rhinos legend Danny McGuire will be a suitable replacement for The Robins. His experience could be the key to a top eight finish, after helping his former club lift the Super League trophy last year. Mose Masoe will also be looking to hit the ground running in his return to the English top flight, following a successful stint with St Helens before moving to St George Illawarra Dragons. The Samoan front rower joined Hull KR in time for the Qualifiers, as did halfback Chris Atkin who will be out to clinch a regular starting jersey.
Their Super League return starts at home to Wakefield Trinity, and they will be looking to start with a bang and pick up two points in the season opener. Then there will be a reunion between McGuire and his former club as they travel to the Rhinos, which is followed by the visit of Catalans Dragons. If they are looking to avoid the bottom four then their trip to Salford Red Devils will be pinpointed as a must win, although when they host Castleford it will be a much tougher assignment. It isn’t a baptism of fire as such to kick-off their 2018, but Hull Kingston Rovers definitely have some difficult fixtures in their first five.
Top Tryscorer – Justin Carney
Top Pointscorer – Chris Atkin
Club Player of the Year – Danny McGuire
WHERE WILL HULL KINGSTON ROVERS FINISH?
Hull KR fans will feel they are back where they belong in 2018, but it could be a long hard slog. With the experience of McGuire they could do enough to avoid the bottom four. Hull Kingston Rovers to finish eighth… just.