Hull KR must put early points on the board at Wakefield, says Michael Dobson
WHEN you're anxiously going in search of your first win of the season, most fans will forgive you for pressing the panic button.
But when Michael Dobson opted to slot over two points in the third minute of last week's opener against Catalan, he had purposefully given the Robins a 2-0 lead. Panic was the last thing on his mind.
Four minutes later, it did not look such a wise decision as Catalan were awarded a similar penalty and instead of trying to level the scores at 2-2, the French side ran the ball and scored through Zeb Taia.
Helping the Dragons to build momentum and eventually run out as 32-24 winners, in hindsight it was a wise move.
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But having been appointed to lead Rovers as skipper this season, Dobson does not regret his tactical decision.
So much so that if he's faced with a similar one at Wakefield tonight, he'll happily kick an early penalty again.
"At this time of the year, I don't regret going for the two points," Dobson told the Mail.
"Most games are going to be close fought and getting points on the board early is very important.
"We thought it was going to be a close game but they got away from us.
"If we played the game again, I'd do the same thing.
"If you ask me the same question in summer time, when we can throw the ball around a bit more, then I'd probably go for the try. But when it's this time of the year and it's hard to score points, I'd definitely do the same.
"It's all hindsight. The fact is we just didn't give ourselves a good enough chance of winning the game because of the way we attacked and completed our sets.
"My decision to kick a penalty so early wasn't the reason why we lost the game."
Having worked on the reasons why they lost their opener, Rovers have pinpointed errors, discipline and being out played by a large pack as the primary reasons.
As a knock on effect, that limited what Dobson and Lincoln Withers could do from the halves.
Ahead of facing Richard Agar's side at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, Dobson has worked on certain things in training to try to get his side on the front foot.
"We need to get more complete sets and build pressure near their try-line," Dobson said.
"We want to make Wakefield do the extra tackling. Catalan did that to us through repeat sets and six penalties in the first half.
"So far, we haven't done that as often as we would have liked.
"We haven't controlled the ball or my kicks have hit legs when I've tried to thread the ball through a gap.
"It's an area we want to get more from and we'll look at doing that."
Outplayed in most areas of last week's defeat, Rovers conceded too much possession to Laurent Frayssinous' side and left themselves too much to do later in the game.
Whilst they did claw back a 24-point deficit, it was not enough to seal a first win of the new campaign.
With Wakefield also desperate to get their first two points on the board tonight, Dobson hopes his side see more of the ball so they can punish the home side.
"We gave Catalan too much possession," he said.
"They had twice as many plays as we did in the first half and when you defend for that much time, tries will come against you.
"We clawed our way back into the game but it was difficult, especially going into the final 15 minutes when we needed the energy and didn't have it.
"If we had had a 50 per cent share of the ball, we'd have been a match for them.
"Wakefield is a ground where we have had a bit of drama in previous years.
"But we won there last year and we'll have to be at our best again tonight."
If Rovers are to open their account for the season at Wakefield, Dobson and his half-back partner need to be more productive with the ball.
Last week, Withers filled in for the suspended Travis Burns at stand-off, but Rovers coach Craig Sandercock admits he may make a change with Craig Hall vying for the role.
But if Withers does keep his place in the backs, Dobson is sure the pair can lead Rovers to success.
"Lincoln and I were a bit scratchy, but he hadn't played stand-off much," added Dobson.
"But he is an experienced player and he'll handle it.
"There's a lot of work to do both as individuals and as a team."