Hull FC and Hull KR begin their Super League season's this afternoon
The Airlie Birds face a trip to the Huddersfield Giants in their opening fixture, whilst Rovers are at home to Challenge Cup holders Leeds Rhinos.
Both black and whites Head Coach Lee Radford and Robins boss Chris Chester are looking forward to the challenge.
Former Australian international Terry Campese has been named as Hull Kingston Rovers’ new captain for the 2015 season.
Campese takes over as skipper following the departure of last season’s co-captains Josh Hodgson and Travis Burns and the ex-New South Wales representative said he’s excited about the role.
“It’s a huge honour for me. This club’s got a lot of history behind it, it’s a very proud club and I can’t wait to run out there with the boys,” he said.
“Being captain does come with a bit of added pressure, people expect you to perform and lead the team each and every week and that’s something I’m keen to do here. I want to knuckle down and play my best football for this club.
“I think when playing in the halves you have to grow up quite quickly and boss the senior players around. When I first joined Canberra, I played with some greats of the game and I had to learn to do that.
“Taking on that responsibility is something that came quite naturally and quickly to me and it’s something I love doing. I love leading the boys out and I can’t wait to lead out this Rovers team, get out there and play in front of this home crowd.
“I think we’re in for an exciting year and hopefully 2015 can be the season fans see Hull Kingston Rovers creep up that table again.”
Hull KR's new prop Mitch Allgood has received the necessary visa clearance to start his three-year contract and will arrive in the country next week.
The former Parramatta Eels front row has been itching to join his teammates at the KC Lightstream Stadium since signing for the club last month and will further show his commitment to the cause by flying into the UK on Christmas Eve.
One of 13 new signings for next season, Allgood has racked up 70 first team appearances for the Eels and was also selected in the 2012 City Origin side.
Standing at 6ft 4in and weighing in at 110kg, the 25-year-old will add another physical presence to the Robins pack next season and is a former Rookie of the Year at Parramatta.
Mitch will add a lot to the team with his size and aggression and we’re excited about seeing him on the training field with the rest of the squad. Having spoken to him, he’s desperate to get over here and get cracking. He’ll have a few days off over Christmas to settle in but he’ll be in on the 28th when the rest of the squad report back.
With Terry Campese arriving in the country that day as well, we’ve got a big few weeks ahead of us and we’re really looking forward to having both of those guys on board.
Youngsters on the children’s wards at Hull Royal Infirmary have been treated to a visit from Ben Cockayne and a string of his team-mates from Hull Kingston Rovers this afternoon.
Armed with bags full of toys, games and Hull KR goodies to give away, players including Aaron Ollett, Jordan Cox, Steven Holker and Ryan Bailey spread some festive cheer amongst the children, parents and staff alike.
Hull Kingston Rovers have announced the signing of former Australian international and State of Origin playmaker Terry Campese for the 2015 campaign.
The ex-Canberra Raiders skipper has signed a one-year contract at the KC Lightstream Stadium and will become the club’s 13th new signing for Super League XX subject to receiving the necessary paperwork.
An experienced half back who has captained the Green Machine for the past three seasons, the 30-year-old has racked up more than 100 appearances in the NRL as well as earning representative honours with Australia, New South Wales and the Country Origin side.
Set to add both leadership and creativity to a young Rovers squad next season, Campese told www.hullkr.co.uk he is excited about joining the Robins and is determined to prove himself to the club’s supporters.
“I have been at the Raiders my whole career but it is time to move on. This is a new challenge for me and one I am really looking forward to it. Looking at all the squads over there, ours is one that is strong and can definitely compete with the top sides but I have done a fair bit of research on Hull as well and it is a place that I think I’ll like.
I am excited, I cannot wait and I am looking forward to experiencing the Super League competition. My main goal is to try to help the club to go up the table and improve on where they finished last season.
Leadership is something that I pride myself on and I love working with the younger players. I am sure that will still be the case at Hull and hopefully we can have a successful year and challenge for that top eight position.
I have signed up for one year which was a big thing for me. I would like to stay longer than that as I feel I have got some good footy left in me, but it’s down to me to prove that. I want to come over there, play the best football I can and hopefully be successful with Hull KR.”
Capable of playing at stand off or scrum half, Campese made his Canberra debut in 2004 and has also had a big impact off the field in the Australian capital, receiving the Ken Stephen Medal last year in recognition for his community work with the Raiders and raising more than $300,000 for local charities via his own Terry Campese Foundation.
“Terry is a true professional who has played at the very highest level and he will bring a wealth of knowledge to the squad next year.
We have lost a bit of experience from last season and it was important we brought in players with leadership qualities to complement a young and exciting crop of players at the club. Alongside the likes of Mick Weyman and Ryan Bailey, Terry will be a real leader for us. He is a great organiser who can guide us around the park and he has also got an exceptional long and short kicking game.
It is no secret that we have been in the market for a hooker and while we have not quite been able to get a deal over the line, we are more than happy to run with what we have got in that position and bringing in a playmaker of Terry’s calibre was an opportunity we could not afford to pass up.
He gives us some strength in depth and competition for places in the halves and his experience will take the pressure off Albert Kelly in particular and free him up to play his natural game.”
Hull KR have signed experienced NRL prop Mitchell Allgood on a three-year deal.
The 25-year-old will add another physical presence to the Robins pack next season after signing for the club from Parramatta Eels.
Allgood has racked up 70 first team appearances for the Eels and was also selected in the 2012 City Origin side.
He is the club’s 12th signing for next season, not including Academy Player of the Year Matty Marsh who has also been added to the first team squad, and the Sydney-born prop will link up with his new teammates subject to receiving the necessary visa and paperwork.
Mitch is a big, strong and athletic prop with a good leg drive who will really add a lot to our pack next season. We lost a bit of power up front from last year’s squad but with Ryan Bailey and now Mitch coming in, we’re really pleased with finding two high quality front rowers. Like Ryan, Mitch will bring plenty of size and aggression out on the pitch but he is a great bloke off the field as well. He comes here at a good age and for the right reasons so we are delighted to have him on board.
Hull Kingston Rovers have snapped up Leeds Rhinos forward Ryan Bailey on a two-year contract as the club continues to bolster its squad for the 2015 season.
A former England and Great Britain international, the prop is one of the most decorated players in Super League having won six Grand Finals, three World Club Challenge titles and one Challenge Cup with the Rhinos.
I’ve achieved a lot of things at Leeds over a 14-year period but I’m ready for a new challenge at Hull KR.
We’ve got a big game at the start of the season against Leeds and that will be a perfect way to hopefully make my debut. I know from experience that the ground is a daunting place to go to, it’s tough for opposition teams and we’ve got to make the most of that.
I know the ins and outs of all the players at Leeds so hopefully I can pass on a few things to Chezzy and we can get a win first game of the season to get us up and running.
Making his Super League debut for Leeds at the age of 18 in 2002, Bailey has gone on to rack up more than 300 appearances for his hometown club and was granted a testimonial last season for his service to the Headingley side.
Ryan is a fantastic signing and an important one for the club.
With Justin Poore retiring, we lost a lot of experience there and a bit of grunt up front and that’s what Ryan brings to the table. He has a wealth of experience at Super League level and also in big games.
He’s a great athlete, a good trainer and a wonderful player. He gives the impression that he’s a player who plays to the boundaries of the rules at times but he’s aggressive and that’s what you need in a front rower sometimes.
Hull KR's Justin Poore has confirmed his retirement from rugby league following a knee injury.
The 29-year-old enjoyed a successful career in both Super League and the NRL which saw him make 209 appearances.
Poore joined Wakefield Wildcats before moving to Hull where he impressed Robins fans during his stay.
The Australian fractured his knee cap on Easter Monday against Catalan Dragons and despite having successful surgery and rehab, Poore has decided to return home.
Poore said: "It's never an easy call to make but I know it's the right decision for me, my family and for the club as well.
"My knee has been responding well to treatment but the feedback from the medical staff is that I run the risk of damaging it further if I was to return.
"The contact might mean I would never be able to walk properly again and that's not a risk I want to take."
Halifax have signed former Hull KR winger Alex Brown from Leigh.
"Alex played plenty of Super League for Hull KR in 2013, so he’s had some success at the top level,” said Halifax coach Richard Marshall.
“I’m not sure why things didn’t work out for him at Leigh, but he’s at the stage now where needs to settle down and enjoy his rugby again.
“He is a big, strong player who will add some size and speed to the backline. We’ve got three specialist wingers in Alex, Tommy Saxton and Gareth Potts and they all bring something slightly different to the team.
“I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of Tommy; he gets his nose through the line and gets the team moving forward.
“I’ll be looking for Alex to do something similar and I’m sure it’s going to be a great competition between those three for the wing spots."
Marshall has also added to his backroom team, with long-serving Swinton player and coach Marlon Billy being appointed as his assistant for 2015.
"Marlon has been pretty much a one-club man, which says a lot about his honesty and his strength of character,” said Marshall.
"I spoke to a few people, but Marlon showed a lot of desire to come here and he’s excited about progressing his own career as a coach.
"I played with him at Swinton, coached him at Swinton, and he’s someone who will do a good job for us.
"He was a back as a player, which I felt was important, he’s reasonably local and he’s got a good knowledge of the Championship, the teams in it, the players in it.
"I used to bump into him at Warrington when Swinton were training there and I’ve had a few conversations with him about coaching.
"His philosophy fits with mine and he’s not afraid to ruffle a few feathers either, which is good."
Hull KR have confirmed the signing of French hooker John Boudebza from Lezignan.
The 24-year-old joins the Robins on a 12-month contract, with the option for a second year at the KC Lightstream Stadium, and will help plug the gap created by the departure of Josh Hodgson.
John has impressed in the competition over in France and, from what I've seen of him, I'm positive he can adapt to playing in Super League.
He is a talented young kid who we've been monitoring for a number of weeks now. He knows it will be a big challenge and that he will have to earn a chance to play in the side but he has backed himself by coming over here.
Boudebza, who came through the ranks at Catalans Dragons and also had a spell with Pia, will join up with former Dragons forward Kevin Larroyer at the Robins.
An opportunity was offered to me at Rovers and, after talking with Kevin Larroyer, I realised how big a chance it was.
He spoke of the warm reception he had from the fans and of a good coach and players. Hull KR are very ambitious and I realised it was the club for me.