Wigan win is reward for hard work, says Hull KR coach Tony Smith

Hull KR coach Tony Smith was delighted his team’s free-flowing style of rugby brought its reward after watching them hammer Super League leaders Wigan 34-18 at Headingley.

With relegation out of the equation, Smith has given his bottom-of-the-table team the licence to entertain and they responded with their best performance of the season to turn the table upside down.

Winger Greg Minikin scored a hat-trick of tries to help Rovers to their first win since the opening round in January and condemn the Warriors to their first defeat since the resumption.

Smith said: “I’m very pleased for my players, who have been working hard on and off the field.

“They are a great bunch of boys. They have probably been the whipping boys for a little while and we’re sick of good efforts and not too much reward, but they’re really excited in the changing room.

“It was a combination of all sorts of things. Having some fresh bodies in the right positions helped us. Wigan had an extra day to prepare but they didn’t look as energised as us.

“I like to think we’ve been getting better and I like the way we’re playing at the moment, we’re asking a few questions of our opponents.

“We’ve got to play differently because of what we’ve got, but having no relegation helps.

“I think the players enjoy our style, they buy into it and it’s good that they get some reward for it.”

Rovers had a new full-back in Will Dagger, a fresh hooker in Jez Litten and a new half-back pairing in Jordan Abdull and Mikey Lewis, and Smith was especially pleased with Litten and Abdull.

Smith said: “I thought they were both terrific. Jez doesn’t usually last 80 minutes, but he had to tonight and I thought his defence was pretty sound.

“Jordan was also terrific, he had a good kicking game and came up with some good plays.”

 

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