Hull KR head coach Tony Smith has provided an update on the fitness of four key players, saying they should all be fit for the start of next season.

Mitch Garbutt (knee), Matt Parcell and Ben Crooks (both shoulder) are all working their way back from post-season operations, while new signing Shaun Kenny-Dowall had a knee cleanout at the end of the NRL campaign.

Parcell is the only player yet to report to Hull College Craven Park at the start of pre-season but he will return from Australia later this week.

“They’re progressing well,” Smith told Hull Live.

“Mitch is going well and is on track. He’s not in full training but is doing most things and feeling good. He’s keeping himself fit without running. He’s on schedule to return for the first game and should be available by then.

 

“Ben Crooks is back in training and doing almost everything so he’s good. He had a minor shoulder touch-up and is doing weights. He’s readjusted what he’s lifting but he’s doing everything else.

“Matt Parcell had a shoulder operation and is progressing well. He’s not back until next Monday. He’s been getting physio treatment and training in Australia, which we were fine with.

“Shaun Kenny-Dowall had a minor knee cleanout and is progressing well. He’s not fully running but is doing everything but. He should be running within the fortnight.”

 

The Robins will play their first friendly against Wakefield Trinity on January 12 before rounding off their pre-season schedule at home to Featherstone Rovers seven days later.

Parcell will miss both games through suspension but Smith is hopeful Garbutt and Crooks will each get at least one game under their belt.

“They’ll be touch and go,” said Smith.

Mitch Garbutt drives the ball forward against Huddersfield Giants
Mitch Garbutt drives the ball forward against Huddersfield Giants

“Mitch will be touch and go for the final friendly. He shouldn’t be far off.

“Matty Parcell can’t play but the good news is we can use two friendlies for him. Originally we thought it was one but apparently we can use two for his suspension so he’ll only miss the first game (of the Super League season).

“Crooksie will be playing in each of the friendlies, I’d suggest.”

Hull KR coach Tony Smith and his staff pitchside in Perpignan

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