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Men's Rugby League No relegation is a positive for us, says Hull KR boss

HULL KR coach Tony Smith says his players will be given a free rein for the rest of the season following the decision to scrap relegation.

Rovers remain rooted to the foot of the Super League table following a 40-10 defeat by Warrington on Saturday’s season resumption at Headingley but Smith was able to draw positives from their performance.

They led early on thanks to an eighth try of the season by winger Ben Crooks and were still in touch at half-time before falling away in the second half when they conceded five tries.

Without the fear of the drop, Smith admits a huge weight has been taken from his team’s shoulders and he expects more entertaining matches as a result.

“It makes a huge difference,” he said. “We’re more likely to see teams try to win games rather than try not to lose them, which makes for better rugby league.

“I find it far more entertaining than the stuff we’ve been dishing up for the last five years, the five drives and a kick to the corner.

“I’m hoping all teams play a bit more. I’ve been encouraged with what I’ve seen since the restart.”

Hull KR had their moments, particularly in the first half, and their players had plenty to prove with opting to field all 11 of the club’s off-contract players, including former Leeds prop Nathaniel Peteru for his belated debut.

“I’d hate to make decisions after one performance but some did better than others,” Smith added. “Some will need a chance to prove themselves again, while others put runs on the board.

“We got off to a great start and we were probably a bit unlucky to be behind at half-time. In the second half we didn’t start the same way, which was disappointing.

“I’m encouraged by some of what we produced. We’re far from the finished article and we need to improve some areas but there are positives to take out of it. ”

Winger Tom Lineham scored his team’s first and last tries as Warrington brushed off the cobwebs with an impressive overall performance.

Wolves coach Steve Price said: “I’m pleased with the result and it’s only going to get better.

“It was our first game in 149 days so it was a pass night for the boys and hopefully we’ve put some smiles on the faces of our supporters. There were a lot of strong performances.

“We spoke about coming here and chancing our arm and we scored some really good tries in the second half off the back of generating ruck speed.

“It was the first time we’ve played to the new rules and there was definitely a lot more ball in play, which is healthy for the game.”

Rovers will miss out next week following the withdrawal of scheduled opponents Toronto and it will be three weeks before their next fixture.

“Sometimes when have a scoreline blowout put on you, you want a quick turnaround,” Smith said.

“Unfortunately we don’t have that but it is what it is. We’ll lick our wounds and spend some time trying to fix up some areas.”

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