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Sheens: Win was all we needed

Head coach Tim Sheens admitted his team will need to improve dramatically on their opening round performance in the Super 8’s Qualifiers – but said a win was all that mattered as Hull KR overcame Halifax 26-22.

The Robins started the game brightly and were 14-6 up after the first quarter following a brace of tries from Kieren Moss and a further score for Matty Marsh, but a determined Halifax side fought back well to lead by two scores heading into the final 20 minutes.

George Lawler then capped his return to the side with a score that got Rovers back in it before Man of the Match Nick Scruton crashed over under the posts to ensure KR started the Qualifiers with an essential win.

Speaking to after the game, Sheens said: “It certainly had me on the edge of my seat, and probably everyone here, but the first round of games has been like that for everyone this weekend. All the clubs in this division are going to put up a fight so it’s going to be a tough, tough series.

“I thought we started well but Thomas Minns got a whack off the ball during our first try and picked up a dead leg. The best way to deal with those injuries is to try to keep going and run it off, but Halifax targeted him on our left edge. We conceded three tries down that side so they took full advantage. We’ll fix that up though and work on that this week. Minnsy’s injury got worse as we went on so we had to take him off at half-time.

“Considering we still had a few key people out and some guys who are not long back from lay-offs, I was still pretty happy with the overall effort. They’re a big, strong side with plenty of experience. They might not be as quick as us in some positions, but they’ve got a lot of game time behind them. There aren’t too many kids in their team, and they’re directed around well by Murrell. They put a lot of pressure on us, and they challenge you at the end of their sets, which is something we need to do more of.

“It was important to get off to a winning start and the two points were all that mattered. We’re not focusing on points difference or anything like at the moment. You win the games and that’s it. We adapted to what we had to do, used an interchange at half-time, which is something I don’t really like doing, but all in all, I’m happy with the win.”

As well as losing Minns at half-time, who Sheens confirmed would be a doubt to face Leigh Centurions next week, Rovers will also wait for scans on a shoulder injury sustained by Mose Masoe in an incident that was put on report.

“Mose carried well, considering he’s only four or five days off the plane. He wanted to play and I had a few injuries with Greenwood and Clarkson not being available. He carried well but you can see he’s still settling in with us. By the end of the series we’ll have a lot more value from him. He had to come off at the end, he couldn’t carry on, but our physios don’t think it’s anything long-term. We’ll see what the scans come back with and whether the tackle is cited.

“He might be a doubt for next week as well but I’d say at this stage that Clarkson, Greenwood and Quinlan will all be pretty close to being available.

“Young Moss at the back; his GPS will be off the charts after that, with the amount of running he did. I was pretty happy with George Lawler’s first game back. He lasted good minutes. We’re still trying to get our halves combination right and working on our kicking game, because our last tackle plays are still not where they need to be and Leigh are very good at that with Josh Drinkwater’s kicking game.”

Photo: Sheens: Win was all we needed