Tony Smith admits Hull KR will have their work cut out to limit the impact of Sam Kasiano in Monday’s Super League clash with Catalans Dragons at Craven Park.
The 30-year-old has been at his destructive best this season for the table-topping Dragons and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Kasiano earned three Man of Steel points for his performance against Rovers last weekend and backed it up with a try in another powerful showing in Thursday’s win over Wakefield Trinity.
Smith is not banking on Kasiano running out of steam in Catalans’ third game in nine days.
“He’s playing a big role for them,” said Smith.
“They’ve got a lot of good players but he’s playing well. It’s the fittest I’ve seen Sam. He looks fit, is playing fit and is having a big impact on them.
“He’s a handful and a half, for anybody who comes up against them. I thought we did OK with him last week but he had a few moments that we struggled with.
“That’s always going to be the case with someone like him. They’ll have their say on a game.
“If you can limit those amounts of time they have their say, maybe it gives you a better chance. But he was pretty good there last week.”
Kasiano’s rampaging runs helped inspire a Dragons comeback in Perpignan as Steve McNamara’s side edged KR in a nailbiter for the second time this year.
Catalans extended their winning run to 11 games by beating Wakefield but Smith is optimistic that Rovers can make it third time lucky on home soil.
“They’re a good team,” he said.
“Everyone will expect me to say they’re well coached but they are. They’ve got good tactics, good players, a lot of good experienced players and some young French boys coming through as well.
“That’s terrific and it’s really important to have a Catalans team that are producing young French players for the future.
“From what I’ve seen, we’ve been amongst some of their tougher games this year.
“They deserve to be at the top of the ladder. They’ve been the best and the most consistent.
“But I’m still confident that if we play them enough times we’ll get them at some stage.”
The Dragons last lost a Super League game way back in April. Indeed, their only two defeats all year have come against Warrington Wolves.
Smith is hoping Hull KR are the team to end their long winning run.
“It’d be nice if we could,” he said.
“We’ll give them a healthy respect. I think Steve and his players give us a healthy respect too. They appreciate we’ve given them a couple of tough games so far.
“We’d like to give them another tough game and come out on the right side but that’ll be determined by two decent teams.
“I think we are a decent team that is up there competing with some of the better teams and pushing them hard.
“We’d like to push in front of a few more as well. If we can do that, that’d be great.”