CASTLEFORD Tigers, aiming to complete a hat-trick of wins at the start of the Super League campaign, must be wary of a wounded Hull KR side on Sunday says head coach Terry Matterson.
Hull KR have lost two of their first three games including last weekend’s shock 31-18 home defeat against Catalans. They are also without key player Michael Dobson (ankle) and suspended centre Jake Webster, but they have Australian half-back Blake Green in their ranks after his signing from Canterbury.
They are expected to be backed by thousands of fans making the journey across the M62 and have already shown their ability to bounce back with the way they beat Hull FC from 14-0 down at Millennium Magic.
Cas boss Matterson (pictured) is looking forward to a cracking atmosphere at Probiz Coliseum and is expecting a cracking game to match it.
He said: “There’s a lot of hype around our place at the moment and Hull KR travel really well. They’re always good encounters between us and it looks like the sun’s going to be out so it’s all set up for a big crowd and a really good game.
“Both teams like to move the ball around and I think we’re fairly well matched. I enjoy playing Hull KR and I think this is one not to miss.
“Hull KR are one from three so they are going to be really hungry.
“They weren’t great last weekend and I’m expecting them to bounce back and give us a big test.
“They’ve obviously had a major blow with Michael Dobson being out. He’s been crucial to everything they’ve done in the last few years.
“Now they’ve had a game without him they will be more able to cope. But certainly we’ve got to make the most of this.
“They didn’t start well in the first two games, but then they did start well in the third so there’s not a lot of trend there. But what I do know is that we had two cracking games with them last year that went right down to the wire and we ended up on the wrong side of the scoreline so it’s something we want to put right.
“The only way we’re going to do that is that if we play well. We’ve got to work hard and do all the little things we did right last game then the result will take care of itself. “
Hull KR did the double over the Tigers last year, courtesy of controversial last minute decisions that went their way in both games. Fans believe that Cas are due a change of luck this time, but Matterson does not want it to come down to fortune.
He said: “What happened with the decisions last year is really irrelevant. They are not going to give us something back that we should have had last year so we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t come down to a decision at the end of the game.
“We are working on getting our game in order. We had a fairly tough week last week and the boys have come back in good shape. We’re really looking forward to the weekend.
“We’ll find out if it was a benefit by not playing last weekend. I think the players would have preferred to have played, two weeks in it’s not ideal to have a week off, but we’ve had a chance to re-focus and not get carried away with what we’ve been doing.
“It’s meant we’ve had two weeks to get ready for the Hull KR game so it shouldn’t be a bad thing, but we’ll not know until after the game.
“We’ve got to build on what we’ve done so far. We’re pleased that we’ve won the first two games and we want to carry that on.”
Matterson hopes to have injured forwards Ryan Hudson and Nick Fozzard fit to face Rovers, while Steve Snitch is available again after serving a one-match ban and keeping in trim by playing for the reserves at Wigan last Sunday. With increased competition, the coach is facing a few selection posers.
He added: “We’re looking pretty healthy and I’ve got one or two selection decisions to make. We haven’t had that enough over the years, but the players are certainly making me work overtime to make sure I get it right.
“We’ll not know until the last training session on Saturday, but everyone in the squad has a chance of playing. We’re playing a different team this week so it could mean a couple of changes to suit the opposition. It’s good to have choices and to have to make these decisions because there’s 19 or 20 guys who deserve a place in the team. But they all can’t play.
“Willie Isa is looking stronger and it was a good game for him in the 20s against Wigan at the weekend. Willie, Steve Snitch and Richie Owen all played and came through okay.
“Richie played 60 minutes, which was really good. I thought he did a really good job. It’s going to take him a few games to get match fitness, but he came through unscathed and I’m really pleased with that.”