Rugby League - Hodgson hails Burns contribution

Hull KR hooker Josh Hodgson believes Australian stand-off Travis Burns can be the Robins' talismanic hero in his first Good Friday derby with Hull FC.

The 28-year-old was forced to sit out the opening three rounds of Super League in order to complete a 12-match ban carried over from his NRL career. Upon his return, Rovers have won three of the four games he has played with the only loss coming at Bradford, where Burns and half-back partner Michael Dobson were both off injured in the second half

"Travis is a great player and a great professional," said Hodgson. "He takes a lot of the pressure off Dobbo and gives us another fantastic attacking option. He's a born leader as well. He's been a massive boost to the side."

Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock is delighted with the contribution of Burns, who was signed as a straight replacement for fellow Australian Blake Green, but believes his partnership with skipper Dobson remains "a work in progress".

"They're getting there," he said. "They've only played four games together but what is important is that they enjoy playing together. It's still a work in progress and will take a bit more time but the signs are good."

While Sandercock now has his first-choice half-backs in tandem, Hull boss Peter Gentle must continue to operate without his high-profile stand-off recruit Daniel Holdsworth, who is facing an indefinite time out of the game due to the effects of concussion.

Former Hull KR full-back Shannon McDonnell is also set to miss Friday's game at the KC Stadium but there will be a reunion with back rower Ben Galea, who is now settled in the Black and White colours. The 34-year-old Galea spent five seasons at Craven Park before moving across the city and has promised not to celebrate if he scores a try.

"I've still got a huge respect for Rovers," said Galea in an interview with the club's official matchday programme.

"If I do score a try or something, I'll be humble about it. I won't be celebrating or jumping around or anything like that. But don't get me wrong, I want to win. I play for Hull FC now and it's a very important two points for us."

Galea had intended to retire after he was not offered a new contract by the Robins but underwent a change of mind. And prop Mickey Paea admits his old team-mate could have extra incentive to produce a big performance. "Benny has been on both sides of the bridge and I'm sure he is going to want to prove a point," Paea said. "I hope he doesn't go too well."