Tony Smith has confirmed Nick Rawsthorne and Owen Harrison will be among the fringe players handed an opportunity in Hull KR’s clash with Leeds Rhinos on Thursday.

Rovers have had an demanding schedule in recent weeks, playing St Helens twice either side of a game against Wigan Warriors before taking on the Rhinos in the Challenge Cup last time out.

The majority of the players that featured at the Totally Wicked Stadium will be rested this week as Smith freshens his team up.

Rawsthorne has played just once since joining KR in the off-season, marking his debut against Leigh Centurions with the winning try in the dying seconds.

He is set to start on the wing at the Halliwell Jones Stadium with Ethan Ryan nursing a wrist injury that is likely to keep him out for the rest of the season.

“Nick will be part of the team this week so I’m looking forward to that,” said Smith.

“He’s in good shape at the moment and he’s itching for a hit-out. He’s one of those players who hasn’t played for six months.

“It hasn’t been through a lack of trying or effort with Nick.”

Kyle Trout and Will Maher will make only their second appearances since the lockdown, with Harrison preparing for his first outing since mid-March.

“Will and Kyle will be in,” said Smith. “Mitch Garbutt will be alright this week as well.

“There’s a number of boys that will get an opportunity. Owen Harrison will be added into the squad and will be a chance of getting a run-out as well.

“I’m going to freshen as many as I can up.”

Owen Harrison has had limited opportunities in the first team
Owen Harrison has had limited opportunities in the first team

Smith has already given a strong hint that 18-year-old back Will Tate will make his first-team debut, although he is giving nothing away on his starting position.

“Full-back, wing or centre – any of those he’ll be quite good at,” said Smith.

“I’ve got no apprehensions about doing that. He’s a good young man.

“Will he get a jersey this week? I’m pretty sure he will.”

Fellow teenager Mikey Lewis has had an intense schedule of late but Smith will have a hard time convincing the half-back to enjoy a rest.

“He’d play every week,” said the KR head coach. “He’d play twice a week if you asked him.

“We’ll have a look at Mikey and decide whether this week is the right one for him.

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“But he’s a goer and a competitor and he just loves going out there and trying hard.

“It hasn’t all been smooth for him so far and he’s had a few bumps along the way but it doesn’t faze him too much.

“He’s enjoying the experience he’s getting at the moment.”