Like their city counterparts, Hull KR begin a new era under a different coach.
With long serving boss Justin Moran leaving at the end of last season, Craig Sandercock has big shoes to fill considering what Morgan brought to the club. A Challenge Cup semi final appearance as a National League One club, promotion in the same year and the ability to maintain a Super League place makes Hull KR one of the most successful promoted sides in the last ten years.
However Sandercock has brought experience to Craven Park in the form of a couple of his old club’s players.
Shannon McDonnell is an experienced and highly rated fullback from Newcastle, while Constantine Mika is a fearless back rower who was released by the Knights at the end of last season.
Rovers have raided several players from Huddersfield, with David Hodgson, Keal Carlile and Graeme Horne all moving to the eastern half of the city. Hodgson and Horne know all about the city derby as Hull boys, while Carlile aims to restart his career after undergoing medical surgery.
Like many other clubs, KR have raided the Crusaders, brining in Lincoln Withers and Ryan O’Hara who were some of the Welsh club’s best players. This should ensure the Robins have a squad capable of making the play offs once again.
Key man: Michael Dobson
Michael Dobson is still Hull KR’s most influential players. When he is on form, so are the Robins. It was the influence of Dobson that got Hull KR into the play offs, guiding them to a four match winning streak as Rover toppled Bradford, St Helens, Catalan and Castleford in the final four games of the regular season. But the 25-year old has plenty of life left in him, and with the right players round him he can guide Rovers onto bigger and better things.
One-to-watch: Keal Carlile
Keal Carlile showed enormous promise for Huddersfield before he was struck down with medical problems. His career has taken a back seat as the 21-year old recovered from heart surgery. Carlile was playing for the Giants when he began feeling tired after only ten minutes. He was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, a thinning of the main artery surrounding the heart, but has since made a full recovery. 2011 was supposed to be his year, but that had to be put on hold until this season. His motivation to prove he can play well and consistently should see Carlile as a serious threat for opponents.
Transfers In: Shannon McDonnell (Newcastle), David Hodgson (Huddersfield), Constantine Mika (Newcastle), Lincoln Withers (Crusaders), Ryan O’Hara (Crusaders), Graeme Horne (Huddersfield), Mickey Paea (Canterbury), Keal Carlile (Huddersfield), George Griffin (Queanbeyan)
Transfers Out: Shaun Briscoe (Widnes), Ben Cockayne (Wakefield, via Featherstone), Liam Colbon (London), Ben Fisher (Released), Peter Fox (Wakefield), Willie Mason (Released), Clint Newton (Penrith), Mick Vella (Retired)
Prediction: Possess play off quality players and should push the higher placed clubs all the way, 8th.
Super League Grand Final Odds: 33/1 (9th favourites)
League Leaders Odds: 50/1 (9th)
Challenge Cup Odds: 40/1 (9th)
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Squad: Shannon McDonnell, Craig Hall, Kris Whelam, Jake Webster, David Hodgson, Scott Taylor, Constantine Mika, Ben Galea, Rhys Lovegrove, Lincoln Withers, Liam Watts, Jason Netherton, Ryan O’Hara, Graeme Horne, Scott Murrell, Jordon Cox, Sam Latus, Scott Wheeldon, Mickey Paea, Richard Beaumont, Keal Carlile, George Griffin, Louis Sheriff, Dave Petersen, Liam Salter, Aaron Ollett, Nick Johnson, Chris Heil, James Green.
A new name, a new structure, a new knockout tournament and the same trailblazing reputation for expanded horizons will be common themes for Kingstone Press League 1 in 2015.
Coventry Bears have added to their squad for their first season in semi-professional rugby league by signing former St Helens winger Ben Parry.