Leigh duo make Hull KR switch while three players go other way

Drew Darbyshire

Hull KR have strengthened their back line by signing Leigh duo Ben Crooks and Craig Hall for the rest of the season.

As part of the deal, Rovers trio Will Dagger, Josh Johnson and Jordan Walne will be heading in the opposite direction on loan.

Hall enjoyed four seasons at Rovers between 2011 and 2014 and has made nearly 250 career appearances to date. He was a standout for Leigh this season, scoring 21 tries in 20 games.

Crooks, 25, came through the ranks at city rivals Hull FC and has gone on to play for Castleford Tigers and Parramatta Eels before joining Leigh. He has scored 64 tries in 130 games.

On the moves, Rovers coach Tim Sheens said: “We are improving the look, size and speed within the side and doing the best we can to make sure that we’ve got depth right the way through the squad.

“It’s been a tough year for us in the outside backs and we’ve lost [Thomas] Minns, [Andrew] Heffernan and [Ryan] Shaw all for the rest of the season. With that in mind, most of our punch has come down the left from Junior Vaivai and Justin Carney when he’s played, so we needed to fix up our right edge and I’m hoping these two coming in helps us to do that.

“They’ve both got good skills, speed and height, so we can kick towards them using the kicking games of Danny McGuire, Todd Carney and Chris Atkin. Both players are goal-kickers as well, Craig more so than Ben, so that gives us extra options in that department if Danny Tickle or Chris Atkin aren’t on for the full 80 minutes for example.

“I’m hoping that we’ll look a lot stronger out wide and we’ll find those combinations maybe starting at the derby tomorrow and then continuing through the Qualifiers.

“As part of the deal, our three lads will be joining Leigh to give them some consistent football for the rest of the year. We’ll be keeping tabs on them each week, watching how they’re getting on and having them touch base with our conditioning and medical teams to keep them around the guys here.”