Morgan: Hard work starts now
After living in the shadow of Grand Finalists Hull FC throughout the era of summer rugby, Rovers will compete on level terms with their nearest neighbours from next season.
The 1985 champions ended their 12-year absence from rugby league's top echelon by winning the National League One Grand Final, courtesy of an emphatic 29-16 triumph over one of last year's relegated teams, Widnes Vikings, in front of a 13,000 capacity crowd at Warrington.
Morgan, who has taken the Robins to the promised land in his first full season at Craven Park, believes the nucleus of his side will be good enough to compete in engage Super League but is looking to make 10 or 12 new signings to complete the job.
‚"The theme behind our recruitment at the beginning of this year was to bring in guys we thought could handle Super League,‚" he said.
‚"Only time will tell, but I can't wait to see some of these guys up against some top quality players.
‚"The likes of Makali Aizue, Scott Murrell and Ben Cockayne will relish the opportunity to play on the big stage. They relished (Sunday's) opportunity. They were very relaxed before the game.
‚"We are going to need some numbers - we went with 23 this year - and obviously there's a few guys going to have to move on one way or the other.
‚"We most probably have 10 or 12 signings we need to get done. We are 60 per cent of the way through. We've still got a couple of players in this squad we want to sign and we'll probably open negotiations with them (on Monday) if they've got a clear head.
‚"There are a few targets that we've put out the feelers for and hopefully we'll have some announcements this week.‚"
Cockayne, a 23-year-old full-back recruited a year ago from Doncaster, won the Tom Bergin Trophy as man of the match but received tough competition from half-backs Murrell and James Webster as well Aizue.
Widnes simply could not handle the blockbusting running of Aizue, a 29-year-old prop from Papua New Guinea, and former Castleford Tigers second rower Michael Smith in a blistering opening that laid the platform for Rovers' comfortable win.
They were 22-4 up at the break, after centre Jon Goddard had scored two tries and put winger Byron Ford over for another, and they comfortably withstood the Vikings' second-half fightback.
After masterminding a club record 24-match winning run in a season of rich promise, Morgan admitted he was relieved his side delivered when it mattered most.
‚"I was nervous before the game,‚" said the Australian, who at 31 is set to be the youngest head coach in engage Super League in 2007. ‚"I'm just pleased that we got the job done.
‚"We've been the best team team all year and to go out and do it in the 80 minutes, I'm happy with that.‚"
While Morgan basked in glory, his counterpart Steve McCormack, who previously held the tag of youngest coach in his spell at Salford City Reds in 2001, was understandably downcast.
Sunday's defeat meant a hat-trick of Grand Final defeats for McCormack, who was on the losing side with Whitehaven in each of the two previous years, and he admitted the feeling was ‚"worse than ever‚".
There was misery, too, for former Wigan Warriors and Great Britain prop Terry O'Connor, who had hoped to guide his home-town back to Super League at the first attempt before finally hanging up his boots.
Hull KR's triumph completed a hat-trick of wins for Yorkshire clubs on National League's Grand Finals day, with Sheffield Eagles clinching promotion thanks to a 35-10 win over Swinton in the League Two play-off and Bramley beating Hemel 30-8 in the League Three decider.
Meanwhile, Morgan took time out from his celebrations to wish arch rivals Hull FC luck in Saturday's engage Super League Grand Final showdown with St Helens at Old Trafford.
‚"I do need to wish Peter (Sharp) and the boys all the best next weekend,‚" he said. ‚"Hopefully it can be a Hull double and what a great advertisement for our city in terms of rugby league talent.
‚"Sharpy has done a great job with them and I'm looking forward to coaching against him next year.‚"
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