Written by Zack Wilson
Photo by Photo Hull KR
Hull Kingston Rovers beat Hull FC 18-10 last Thursday evening in the third East Yorkshire derby of the 2019 Super League campaign.
The decision to recruit Matt Parcell from Leeds Rhinos could turn out to be the most important decision made by the Rovers hierarchy in 2019.
The Robins have been lacking a dynamic presence at dummy half all season, Parcell, who played 80 minutes against Hull as well as scoring the game’s clinching try, provided energy and dynamism in spades.
His vision and awareness still need a little bit of work, but the Australian will sharpen up with more regular game time.
It does not like he will be going back to the Rhinos either.
“It has been difficult (at Leeds) but Tony has been really good. He wants me to play the footy I really enjoy playing and has been nothing but supportive,” Parcell said, according to the Yorkshire Post.
“That gives me a lot of confidence knowing the coach is going to back me no matter what happens. That’s exactly who I want to play under. Obviously it’s a game of footy and if it worked every time it’d be easy.
“I want someone there who is going to back me 100 per cent and that’s what he does.
“I’ve got another year at Leeds but that would be the goal (staying at KR). I don’t think I’ll be going back to Leeds.”
The confidence that Smith is inspiring in his troops is clear to see. Rovers did not let the lead slip on Thursday evening, even when they came under pressure.
Letting winning positions slip has been something of a tradition for the Robins in recent years.
But the Robins showed some real steel and they definitely crossed a psychological bridge on Thursday, as utility forward recognised afterwards.
“In similar games earlier on in the season we just switched off a bit,” said Lawler, according to the Hull Daily Mail.
“Now we need to play for the full 80 and we did that today.
“Consistency is a big key, playing for that 80 minutes and turning up for each other. We’ve got to concentrate on ourselves.”
Josh Drinkwater and Danny McGuire also started to look like the players they are supposed to be against Hull FC.
Drinkwater recorded another try assist, taking his tally for the season in Super League to 12, the same as Hull FC’s Jake Connor.
Tony Smith has galvanised the Robins, and managed to instil an atmosphere of optimism and confidence, which was just what the club needed.
The relegation battle in Super League is getting more interesting all the time.