Hull KR coach Tony Smith says the Betfred Super League outfit plan to bring through some of their academy players into the senior squad over the next couple of seasons.
The Robins (200/1 to win the 2020 Grand Final) made big changes to their ranks last winter, with around 20 new faces arriving at Craven Park – many of which brought plenty of experience.
The likes of Greg Minikin, Jamie Ellis, Matt Parcell, Matty Gee, Jordan Abdull and Elliot Minchella were all signed by Smith in the close season.
It is likely to take some time for the new faces to gel, highlighted by Hull KR’s current plight – sitting second from bottom after just one win in their opening six Super League 2020 matches.
The plan for the future is for Smith to bring through players from the Robins’ academy and to see a good mix of youth and experience take the club forward.
Speaking to the Hull Daily Mail, the Australian revealed: “We’ve invested a lot in young players coming through and developing those. Many of those are on contract for more than one year.
“We felt we needed to go in a different direction and try to build a group that is going to come through and excel together, while hopefully adding to them mainly from our academy sectors.”
The Robins are looking to establish themselves in the top division and bring some much craved success to the red-and-white part of the city.
Many feel Smith is the man to deliver that, having enjoyed great progress at both Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves during his time in Super League.
The former England (8/1 to win the 2021 World Cup) boss is certainly upbeat about the future at Craven Park, having been impressed with what he has seen in the academy.
Smith added: “We’ve got some terrific young kids coming through and we want to be producing them locally so we don’t need to have mass turnovers and bringing people in from outside.”
The first task for the 53-year-old though is to steer them away from the foot of the table in 2020, when the Super League returns following the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The government gave the go-ahead for professional sport to return, behind-closed-doors, from June 1, but no date has been set yet as to when Rugby League will resume in the UK.