27 March 2024

Hull KR’s Jez Litten eager to bag Good Friday derby win over former side Hull FC

27 March 2024

Jez Litten may have past and present ties to Hull KR’s biggest rivals but he insisted he would be at the “wrong club” if winning the Good Friday derby was not among his chief aims for the season.

Litten began his career with Hull FC as a teenager in 2017 but being behind the likes of Danny Houghton in the pecking order led to him crossing the divide, temporarily at first then permanently in 2020.

He retains a connection to his old club as younger cousin Davy is on the books of the Black and Whites, although the pair, as is customary in the week leading up to the Hull derby, are refraining from any form of communication with each other.

The elder Litten has bagged family bragging rights once already this year following the Robins’ 22-0 win in February’s season opener and hopes to make it a double when the teams collide at Craven Park.

“With me and Davy, it’s an understanding,” the hooker said. “It’s not like we speak on the Sunday night and then say ‘that’s it, I’ll see you next week’. It just happens, it’s not awkward or anything.

“I’ll see him after the game and we’ll have a good chat. The one who’s been beaten will get picked up by the other one, put an arm round their shoulder and that’s it, really.

“You always want to win a derby and if it’s not up there as the most (important win of the season), then you’re playing for the wrong club. I want to win them but I do want to beat everybody as well.”

Having been born in Hull and lived there all his life, Litten, who made his full England debut 11 months ago, admitted he was occasionally overawed by the clashes between KR and FC.

You always want to win a derby and if it's not up there as the most (important win of the season), then you're playing for the wrong club

“You can never get over it fully because we live in Hull and (know) just how big the derby is,” the 26-year-old said.

“Something I really try to focus on when I play a derby, if I do my job right and the team do, hopefully we can get the win.”

Rovers recorded a statement 40-0 victory over Salford in the Challenge Cup last week and have been drawn in the quarter-finals to face Leigh, their conquerors in last year’s showpiece.

Hull have, by contrast, had an exacting past couple of weeks after shipping 50 points in heavy defeats by Leigh and Huddersfield – although Litten is taking nothing for granted.

“We don’t look over there too much,” Litten added. “It only takes one week for stuff to click and then you’re back to winning ways. They’ll be looking to do that this week and we’re expecting them to be at their best.”

It was a sentiment echoed by KR head coach Willie Peters, who expects Mikey Lewis to overcome his concussion protocols to feature, although England centre Oliver Gildart will miss out.

“I understand that with where we sit and they sit, naturally there’s got to be a favourite but we honestly don’t look into that,” Peters said.

“If you do then it’s instilling more pressure into the team and my job is to take it away from them.

“There’s enough expectation in a derby – they’ll have that as well but I’m not going to worry too much about what they do. Both teams are expected to win and that’s how we look at it.”

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