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Hull KR sign Gold Coast pair

Hull KR have signed Gold Coast Titans half-backs Albert Kelly and Maurice Blair as the replacements for departed overseas pair Travis Burns and Kris Keating.

New Hull KR signing Albert Blair Credit: Press Association

Both Kelly, 23, and Blair, who turned 30 on Thursday, were under contract with the Titans for another 12 months but were released to enable them to sign two-year deals with the Robins.

Their capture takes the club's tally of new signings to eight for the 2015 season as head coach Chris Chester rebuilds the side that failed to reach the First Utility Super League play-offs this year.

Burns was sold to St Helens while Keating was released by mutual consent after a disappointing first season in England.

"They're two very exciting players and we're really pleased to add them to our squad for next season," Chester said.

"They both have good kicking games, they're strong defenders and we are expecting Albert in particular to set the Super League on fire in the halves.

"We've done our homework on the pair of them and we are really confident they will be a good fit both for the club and the Super League competition.

"I'd still like to bring another half-back in as well as these two. The good thing about Maurice is that he can play left centre as well and he'll also be challenging for a spot in the team in that position."

Kelly, a former Australian schoolboy international, has scored 18 tries in 47 appearances for the Titans and Cronulla while Blair has made 99 NRL appearances for Penrith, Melbourne and the Titans.

Titans head coach Neil Henry said: "They were given a rare opportunity to play together as halves by Hull KR and they get the security of two-year deals.

"We feel we have good depth in the halves here so we agreed to allow Albert to take this opportunity in the Super League and, at 30, Maurice has the chance to extend his career which we are also happy to accommodate. We wish them both great success over there."


Gene leaves the Robins

Hull Kingston Rovers assistant first team coach Stanley Gene has left the club with the former Papua New Guinea international now expected to take up a full-time role with Gateshead.

Gene, who made more than 170 appearances for the Robins as a player, has divided his time this season between his position at the KC Lightstream Stadium and working part-time as head coach of the Thunder.

Steering KR’s partner club to the play-offs in Championship 1, he is now set to take up a full-time position in the North East after Rovers boss Chris Chester opted to bring in his own staff for 2015.

I’m disappointed that I won’t be staying at Rovers, a club that means a lot to me, but I wish everybody here all the best for next season.

I had a chat with Chezzy when he took over about what he had in mind for next year and he was up front about wanting to bring his own people in. It was tough to take at first but I understand his reasons why.

I’ve learned a lot over the past three years and I’m grateful to Hull KR for giving me an opportunity to come back to the club after my playing days finished. I love the club and the fans and I leave with some great memories. I’ll be in the stands supporting the team as often as I can next season and who knows, maybe I’ll be back here as a coach one day.

You have to move on in life and I’m excited about taking on a bigger role at Gateshead. I’m really proud of what the team achieved this season and my focus now is on having another good year in 2015.

– Stanley Gene

Sheffield sign former Great Britain star Langley

Sheffield Eagles have signed former Bradford captain Jamie Langley from Hull KR.

Jamie Langley: Handed coaching responsibilities at Sheffield Credit: Press Association

The 30-year-old forward, who won every domestic honour during an 11-year spell with the Bulls, has signed a two-year contract with the Championship club and will also be part of their coaching team.

Sheffield head coach and chief executive Mark Aston said: "We are delighted that Jamie has chosen to join us. I am looking forward to working with him both as a player and as a coach.

"We have a relatively young forward pack and his knowledge and experience will be invaluable to them.

"I am sure that Jamie will quickly become a fans' favourite and build on the reputation he has already gained from his experiences in both Super League and International rugby."

Langley, who was not offered a new contract by Hull KR, said: "It's a new challenge for me and I'm really excited to get going. When I was weighing up my options, I spoke to a few of the Sheffield lads and none of them had a bad word to say about the club."

Langley, who won his only Great Britain cap against France in 2007, is looking forward to cutting his coaching teeth with the Eagles.

"I'm going to be playing first and foremost and I want to play on for as many years as possible," he said.

"Helping on the coaching side of things is really appealing to me at this stage. I feel like I have a lot to offer having worked under some great coaches during my career. You learn little bits from each one and hopefully I can part with some of that wisdom myself."

KR poach Warrington assistant

Hull Kingston Rovers boss Chris Chester has strengthened his back-room staff for 2015 with the addition of vastly experienced Willie Poching as his new assistant coach.

Former Rhinos man heads to Hull as Rovers' assistant Credit: Press Association

Chester was appointed as the club’s head coach on a full-time basis last week and has wasted no time in snapping up the services of the highly rated Poching to be his right-hand man.

Currently a first team coach alongside Tony Smith at Warrington, Poching will link up with the Robins at the end of the season on a one-year contract and says he can’t wait to get started at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

It’s a very different challenge but one that I’m very excited about to help a new coach and come to a club that’s really ambitious off the field as well as on the pitch. I’ve known Chris for a while and I was excited when we had a chat. It was an easy conversation to have and I like his ideas and his philosophies with what he’s trying to do here. Hopefully I can have a positive influence and pass on some of my experience to him, as well as learning from Chris himself and the players. There’s some guys in this squad who have been around the block for a while and there’s some young players really looking to make a mark, so it’s a good mix and they’ll have a say as well.

– Willie Poching

Poching enjoyed an illustrious playing career before turning his hand to coaching and represented both New Zealand and Samoa as well as having successful spells with Wakefield and Leeds in Super League.

After hanging up his boots in 2006, he was part of the coaching set-up at the Rhinos under first Tony Smith and then Brian McClennan, before going on to coach the Samoa national side. He would later follow Smith to Warrington where he has spent the past four seasons.

Helping to lead the Wolves to the League Leaders Shield in his first season, Poching was also part of the Warrington staff which won the Challenge Cup in 2012 and featured in last season’s Grand Final.

Willie has learnt his trade under some very good coaches at some very successful clubs so we’re looking forward to what he will bring to Hull KR. He is very well thought of within the game and he’s got a lot of experience as both a player and a coach, so the input he will have into the culture at the club will be invaluable. I’ve known him since he first came over to the Super League with Wakefield and he has never lost his enthusiasm for rugby league. He’s a great person to have around the squad and he’ll have a big part to play in what we are trying to achieve here.

– Chris Chester, Hull KR Head Coach

Eden heading to NRL

Hull KR have agreed to release full-back Greg Eden from the final year of his contract to enable him to make a move to Australia.

Hull KR full-back Greg Eden is heading Down Under Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Eden, 23, who was famously dubbed England's Billy Slater by Nathan Brown two years ago during their time together at Huddersfield, is thought to have secured a contract with Brisbane Broncos.

The Castleford-born player has made 37 appearances for the Robins since joining them from Huddersfield two years ago.

"I've really enjoyed my time at Hull KR and I wish everybody here all the best for the future," said Eden, who had loan spell at Salford earlier this season after losing the full-back spot to Ben Cockayne.

"It's a great club and I'm sure good things are around the corner under Chris Chester but I didn't feel personally that I could turn this opportunity down.

"I've always had an ambition to play in the NRL and it's a great chance for me to go over there and hopefully improve my game."

Hull KR chief executive Mike Smith said: "We have retained an option on Greg's services should he return to Super League but he makes the move to the NRL with our best wishes.

"We have been planning for his departure as we look to strengthen our squad for 2015 and have already recruited heavily in the outside backs for next season.

"I'd like to thank Greg for his service to Hull KR over the past two years and wish him good luck with his new club."


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