Travis Burns: 'I'm ready to lead Hull KR from the front'
HULL KR's new stand-off Travis Burns insists he'll replace Clint Newton as Rovers' main man on derby day.
Newton has told his former Penrith Panthers team-mate all about the Hull derbies during their season together this year.
The Robins clearly missed the drive of Newton in all three Super League derbies last season, with FC winning two of the three cross-city clashes convincingly.
Newton knew how to handle the occasion and thrived on the rivalry, knowing how and when to wind up fans, and rival players, to allow his team-mates to focus on their game.
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Now, having heard so much about the occasion, Burns is ready to shake the derbies up with his own style of play.
"Clint told me they can be pretty firey and I'm looking forward to the derbies," Burns told the Mail.
"He told me that they are a big day in the city and I have watched a few clips on YouTube. They look great.
"Clint loved playing in them and I'm looking forward to my first one.
"In every game, players try to wind each other up. That's just the nature of the beast and I expect there will be a bit more in the derbies. I'm looking forward to that.
"I like to play the game tough.
"Watching the derbies last season made me realise you have to play them tough to win them. Hopefully, the boys can get on the back of something I do on the field and win the derbies.
"Do I try and wind the opposition up? Not really."
With a smile beginning to break on his face and a glint in his eye, Burns could not hide his excitement.
And by the time the Good Friday derby comes round at the KC Stadium on March 29, Burns should be well into his swing.
He will have served the remaining games of his suspension, carried over from a 12-match ban from the NRL against Warrington on March 3.
"It is disappointing to be missing the first four games but it's a long season," Burns said.
"I'm not sure what I'll be doing on game days during my suspension. I'll sit up in the stands and take it all in and if I see something I can give advice on, I'll pass it on.
"I'm not a very good passenger because I don't like watching from the sidelines but I can't do anything about that.
"I will use it as an advantage to look after my body and be ready for the Warrington game.
"I'll be ready for that game mentally and physically.
"It's also good to have my debut at home against a great side like Warrington and a couple of good mates of mine as well.
"I played with Michael Monaghan at Manly and Trent Waterhouse was a room-mate of mine at Penrith."
Burns steps into the shoes of Blake Green as he looks to form a formidable partnership with captain Michael Dobson in the KR halves.
And he is confident Rovers have the players, and coach, to bring a big improvement on last season's 10th-place finish.
"With the team of players I have around me, and the coach we have here, there is no reason why I can't play my best rugby here," he said.
"My role is to play at stand-off and take a bit of pressure off Michael.
"I played against him in the under-20s competition back in 2004.
"We have a good relationship off the pitch and hopefully we can take that on the field.
"Craig wants Michael to concentrate on his own game and that is right. Michael shouldn't have to worry about everyone else in the team.
"I'm looking forward to playing alongside him and Josh Hodgson.
"It's a very good young team with quality outside backs. This is a close-knit group and that's what you need to succeed.
"We are in good shape to give the competition a good shake. The squad is one of the main reasons why I came here."
Another reason for swapping the sun of Australia for the cold of east Hull was Sandercock.
Entering his second season in charge, Sandercock has brought in Burns as one of eight new signings ahead of the next campaign.
Burns and Sandercock first met seven years ago and have kept in touch ever since.
And despite offers from other NRL clubs, Burns says he opted to play for Sandercock as he knew his qualities can make KR a success.
"I have a good relationship with Craig from our time at Manly," Burns said.
"He was an assistant coach there at the time and I was starting my career.
"He went to Newcastle after that and I've kept in touch with him.
"When the chance came to join Craig at Rovers, it was a pretty easy decision and now I am just looking forward to the season starting."