2020 Review: Hull Kingston Rovers

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Andrew Ferguson kicks off our 2020 Super League club review series with a look at how Hull KR's season panned out as they finished 11th - last - on the table.

Hull KR weren't expected to be world beaters in 2020, far from it. After narrowly evading relegation at the end of 2020 thanks solely to having a less woeful points difference than the London Broncos, it was expected that they would be next to drop down, especially given the newly promoted Toronto Wolfpack had dominated the Championship.

The Rovers though opened the season with a solid 30-12 win over Wakefield, but sadly, that's where their season peaked. They lost their 5 games before the competition was shut down due to the Coronavirus.

Three weeks after the resumption, the Rovers scored just their 7th win in 30 games against Wigan, with an emphatic 34-18 victory. It would be a month before their next and final win of the season, over Salford.

Hull KR finished at the bottom of the table, but will not be relegated, giving them yet another chance to redeem themselves in 2021.

Turning point

Round 3 vs Leeds - After a promising start where they beat Wakefield before going down in a tight local derby with Hull FC, The Rovers looked to have improved on 2019. But Leeds soon set the record straight as they scored a 52-10 win. Hull KR lost their next 6 games, conceding 204 points (an average of 34 per game) and never recovered.

What worked

Very little. Their attack and defence both worsened compared to last year, however the one small glimmer of light came in the form of Ben Crooks, who bagged 11 tries in 12 games.

What didn't work

Their attack was almost 2 points per game worse than last year, while their defence was over 4 points per game worse. Coach Tony Smith has a lot of work to do and only has a very short off-season in which to do it.

Best player

Kane Linnett. In his second year at the Rovers and has gone from strength to strength. Made the transition to part time back rower seamlessly and dominated in the process. He and Elliott Minchella were the standout players for the club in what was an otherwise bleak season.

Rookies

William Tate was the only debutant at the club in 2020. He played 4 games across Fullback and wing and looked solid. Jez Litten though, in his second year at the club and just his 4th season in the Super League, had a standout season and looks set to become one of the top rakes in the competition in the near future.

Looking ahead

The club has made some huge signings moving into 2021 and they had to! Korbin Sims will join the forward pack from the St.George-Illawarra Dragons, while Albert Vete from the Melbourne Storm and Ryan Hall from the Sydney Roosters, will both be lining up for the Red and Whites next year.

The side will also have 20-year-old Muizz Mustapha on loan from the Rhinos. They have had a major clean out of players too, with Jamie Ellis, Matty Gee, Ryan Brierley and Nathaniel Peteru all departing for the newly promoted Leigh Centurions. Mitch Garbutt, Dan Murray and Will Oakes are all heading to new clubs, while the loans for Elliot Wallis and Harvey Livett have both ended. Kyle Trout and Weller Hauraki have both been released.

2020 results

CompDateOppositionScoreCoachCaptainVenueRank
SL R1Jan 31stHWakefieldW30-12SmithEllisKCOM Craven4th
SL R2Feb 7thAHull FCL16-25SmithEllisKCOM Stadium5th
SL R3Feb 14thALeedsL10-52SmithHadleyHeadingley11th
SL R4Feb 21stHHuddersfieldL4-22SmithHadleyKCOM Craven11th
SL R5Feb 27thHCastlefordL8-28SmithHadleyKCOM Craven11th
SL R6Mar 8thAWiganL16-30SmithBrierleyDW Stadium11th
CC 5RMar 15thHLeighW22-19SmithHaurakiKCOM Cravento QF
SL R8Aug 8thAWarringtonL10-40SmithHaurakiHeadingley11th
SL R10Aug 30thHSt HelensL18-32SmithHaurakiHalliwell Jones11th
SL R11Sep 3rdHWiganW34-18SmithHaurakiHeadingley10th
SL R12Sep 11thASt HelensL20-21SmithHaurakiTotally Wicked10th
CC QFSep 18thA NLeedsL18-48SmithHaurakiTotally WickedElim
SL R13Sep 24thHLeedsL16-41SmithBrierleyHalliwell Jones10th
SL R14Sep 30thAHuddersfieldL22-32SmithHaurakiJohn Smith's10th
SL R15Oct 9thACatalansL4-34SmithHaurakiGilbert Brutus10th
SL R16Oct 13thHSalfordW24-22SmithHaurakiHalliwell Jones10th
SL R17Oct 22ndACastlefordL24-38SmithHaurakiTotally Wicked10th
SL R18Oct 25thAWakefieldL18-48SmithEllisMobile Rocket11th
SL R19Oct 29thHHull FCL16-31SmithHaurakiTotally Wicked11th