January 31, 2020

Match Preview – Hull KR vs Trinity

Match Preview by Emma Holley

The 2020 Betfred Super League season finally returns this weekend, appearing bigger and stronger than ever, as Trinity go East on the M62 to face Hull Kingston Rovers in their Round 1 clash, at the Hull College Craven Park.

The wait for Friday’s game has been eagerly anticipated, as Trinity aim to take 1000 travelling fans across the motorway tonight, in hope of bringing the two points home, and watch Trinity finally put their pre-season preparations into practice on the rugby league field.

The teams have received a slight taste of one another’s tactics and style in Danny Brough’s testimonial match a few weeks ago, but there’s no doubt the play will be different this time round – and Friday night is what counts, as both sides will be determined to kickstart their season with a win.


Trinity will be aiming to get off to the best possible start in 2020, and right any wrongs from last year, with a number of the new recruits expected to pull on the red, white and blue jersey tonight.

This includes Jay Pitts, Josh Wood and Joe Westerman, as well as new signing Romain Navarrete, who is set to feature in the red, white and blue. Adam Tangata will also make his second Trinity debut, after re-signing for the Trin on a season-long loan, due to impressing in 2019.

Tom Johnstone is also named in the 21-man squad, and is more than ready to make his comeback to top flight, after being side-lined through injury since last March.

He is also one of the names up there – predicted to be a strong contender for Super League’s 2020 top try-scorer.

In his press conference, Chris Chester has admitted that he expects both sides to play a lot differently to when they faced each other in the testimonial game just three weeks ago.

The head coach also recognises the importance of Trinity starting well this time out.

Chester said: “We have a really good chance if we watch out. I’m expecting a young, hungry team (from Hull KR).”

“For us, it’s important that we get off to a really good start. We’re certainly not taking anything for granted. Hull KR are a good side, and they’ve got some good individual players.”

“It’s going to be a real challenge across the park; we’re expecting an open game. I’m looking forward to it, it should be a really good night.”

“We’re ready. It’s always a tough place to go, but we’ve just got to make sure we start well.”

Chris Chester has also reassured fans to remain positive on the injury front, revealing that some bodies aren’t too far away from returning to the side.


Hull Kingston Rovers have made a lot of changes to their side for 2020, adding extensively to their squad in the off-season, after finishing 11th last year.

A number of debutants are set to make their first appearances in a Robins’ shirt tonight, such as Greg Minikin. Elliot Minchella, Ryan Brierley, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Will Maher, Matthew Storton and Matty Gee.

They will no doubt be raring to go and inspired by their co-captain Mose Masoe, who tragically suffered a career-ending spinal injury in the testimonial friendly just three weeks ago. Nevertheless, Masoe has showcased a positive attitude towards his battle ahead, and thanked the rugby league family for their love and support. He will continue to co-captain the Hull Kingston Rovers side throughout 2020.

Trinity should therefore expect a hungry and eager Rovers’ side on Friday, who are not to be taken lightly.

HKR’s head coach Tony Smith recognises that his new team will need time to grow and improve, but has expressed that he will be a happy coach, provided his team do their very best every game.

Ones to watch include Ryan Brierley, well-known for his versatility, shining through in his stints at Leigh, Huddersfield and Toronto. Influential playmaker Jordan Abdull in the halves is another to look out for, who will likely partner with rugby league general Jamie Ellis.

Australian Adam Quinlan at fullback is another danger man, with his fancy footwork and show and go play, as is an experienced Mitch Garbutt, who played in the treble-winning

Leeds Rhinos side in 2015. Youngster Harvey Livett is also one to watch, for his threatening energy in the second row, or at centre.

Previous meetings

Trinity hold a decent record against the Rovers, especially away at Hull College Craven Park. They may have lost out narrowly to Hull KR early on last season, in a muddy, low-scoring encounter at the Mobile Rocket Stadium, before then beating the Robins comfortably away, with an incredible 10-38 score-line in August 2019. In 2018, Trinity managed to achieve a league double over the Robins, firstly beating them in early February, 6-28 away, before hammering them 54-18 on home soil.


Trinity (21-man squad): Johnstone, Tupou, Lyne, Miller, Brough, Wood, Ashurst, Kirmond, Westerman, Pitts, Kopczak, Batchelor, Tangata, Jowitt, Wood, Gwaze, Kershaw, Atkins, Hampshire, Navarrete, Tanginoa.

Rovers (21-man squad): Quinlan, Crooks, Kenny-Dowall, Linnett, Minikin, Abdull, Mulhern, Livett, Garbutt, Lawler, Murray, Trout, Litten, Dagger, Lewis, Gee, Maher, Minchella, Storton, Ellis, Brierley.