Hull KR can battle to a valuable win over Catalans
Lowest scorers can bounce back from two Super League defeats
Betfred Super League
Sky Sports Arena, 7.35pm Thursday
The Betfred Super League season is only a fortnight old but already Thursday's Hull KR v Catalans clash looks like a crucial match in the battle to avoid a bottom-four finish.
Bookmakers believe Rovers and the Dragons face a season of struggle with KR 4-1 to make the top eight in their first season back in the top flight and the French club 2-1 to avoid a second straight year in the Qualifiers after narrowly escaping the drop in 2017.
Both sides are winless and the losers of their clash will be propping up the pile at close of play.
It seems sure to be a nervy night at Craven Park with the hosts being asked to concede a two-point handicap start to Steve McNamara’s team.
The Catalans coach believes having 15 players on World Cup duty is the reason for his team’s scratchy start - they have scored just 24 points in their defeats to Widnes and St Helens.
Even playing against 12 men for almost half an hour at home to Saints didn’t help the Dragons break their duck last Saturday.
Rovers have scored a league-low 17 points in losses to Leeds and Wakefield and a bet on the unders can be considered when the total- points markets appear nearer kick-off.
Robins boss Tim Sheens was on the case of the match officials after a ten-point lead was squandered at Elland Road a week ago and he and his team will be under pressure if they cannot reverse the form from last September’s 20-19 home defeat by the Dragons.
However, that came a week after KR had secured promotion back to Super League while Catalans were still scrapping for survival.
Even then Chris Atkin missed two late shots at goal that would have won it for Rovers and a narrow home win looks the most likely outcome this time.
The visitors have problems with Benjamin Jullien and Sam Moa banned and Michael McIlorum injured.
Scrum-half Luke Walsh, whose conversion won the match for Catalans on their last visit, is fit to return.
However, he may find himself on the losing side and the 2-1 against Rovers winning this dogfight by a dozen points or fewer is an appealing price.
Hull KR to win by one to 12 points
2pts 2-1 Paddy Power
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