Sheens keen to ease pressure ahead of Catalans test
Head coach Tim Sheens will urge his players to focus on going through their processes rather than the result of tomorrow’s clash with Catalans Dragons at KCOM Craven Park.
Both teams have lost their opening two matches in Betfred Super League but go into Thursday’s match on the back of much improved performances, as Rovers lost out narrowly away to defending champions Leeds Rhinos and Catalans were defeated at home to current table toppers St Helens.
Expecting a tough test in front of the Sky Sports cameras, Sheens said the outcome will be decided by who performs the basics the best.
“They’re a big, strong side. There’s a bit of pressure with them being zero from two like us. They were without their two starting half backs last week and Michael McIlorum isn’t in the squad for this week so they’ve got a new spine who are still adjusting to each other, a bit like ourselves. They’ve only named 18 players whilst they waited for the outcome of the appeal so anything can happen over the next 24 hours.
“They’ve had a couple less days to prepare and they’ve got to travel so there’s maybe a bit of an advantage there for us, but it will mean nothing unless we go out there and do all the little things well.
“We’ve spoken a lot about the processes not the outcomes. Focus on every run, every kick and every tackle, come with the enthusiasm that’s required to be a Super League player, and the outcome takes care of itself.
“We’ve trained all week in windy and wet conditions so it should be no surprise to us if it’s like that again come Thursday night. It’s down to the players to adapt to whatever situation is presented to them and to play with composure. I thought a few times against Leeds, particularly towards the end, we let scoreboard pressure get to us a little bit so hopefully we can be better in that area.”
Meanwhile, Sheens has reiterated his stance on the club’s half back combination as the Rovers boss continues to work with Danny McGuire, Chris Atkin and Matty Marsh.
All three have been named in the 19-man squad this week and Sheens added: “Marshy is in our squad again this week and we’ll have a look at it. Danny picked up a bit of a knock so we have that to consider as well.
“The three of them have been working hard together, Chris and Matty have played with Danny and they’ve also played with each other. We’ve played around with it right from day one in training and in the friendlies, but I think Chris played well enough last week to stay involved.
“They’re the half backs in the team at the moment, there’s nobody else, so it’s down to them. If they contribute enough to keep myself and the rest of the coaching staff happy and the team going in the right direction, then that’s the way it will stay.
“We’re into the season now and I’m sick to death of being linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry to fill columns in newspapers. We’ve seen the speculation about Todd Carney this week which came on the back of a brief conversation with his agent asking what he was doing this season. We were told he was staying in Australia and looking for a contract in the NRL and that was it, there’s no story there.
“At the moment, we’re not looking for a half back and we’re focused on settling on a combination, but I’ve been really impressed by how Marshy and Chris have handled the speculation. Matty hasn’t been asked as many times, but Chris has and he’s handled it really well. He’s answered them in the right way in that whilst he’s getting his chance it’s down to him to take it and if he does, then he’ll stay in the team.”