HULL KR coach Justin Morgan is now firmly established as a top Super League coach.
But during that coaching career, two of his top achievements have come in the Challenge Cup.
His pedigree first emerged in the Cup back in 2005, when his Toulouse Olympique side came within 80 minutes of Wembley after beating Widnes Vikings in a memorable quarter-final tie.
Then the following season, after his move to Hull KR, Morgan plotted a shock 40-36 quarter-final triumph over Super League side Warrington Wolves - the current holders - at Craven Park when the Robins were still a Championship club.
During his time as KR coach, Morgan has also savoured Challenge Cup success over the Giants, having secured a 42-22 triumph over Jon Sharp’s side at the fifth-round stage in May, 2008.
WHEN Hull KR were heavily beaten 30-0 at home to the Giants on February 21, many were predicting it could be a long, hard season for the Robins.
That reverse had come just a week after an equally heavy defeat at Wigan Warriors and questions marks were being raised over the competitiveness of the club that had finished fourth in Super League in 2009.
But with the return to action of inspirational back-rower Ben Galea, who had missed the start of the season through injury, and the recruitment of top fellow Australian front-row forward Joel Clinton, the tide began to turn.
A week after suffering that defeat at the hands of Huddersfield, Rovers ground out a hard-fought 24-20 triumph at Castleford Tigers and their campaign rapidly gained momentum.
After that, coach Justin Morgan’s men won 28-24 at home to St Helens, secured a magnificent 17-10 success at Leeds and then beat Harlequins 52-12 in the capital before grabbing a 36-16 victory at home to Warrington Wolves on Sunday.
There have also been defeats to Wakefield, Catalans and arch rivals Hull during that period.
But that’s still top-eight play-off form, and a clear indication that on their day Hull KR can pose a massive threat.
IT was surely no coincidence that when the Giants won 30-0 at Hull KR earlier in the season, one man sitting in the stands was Ben Galea.
The 31-year-old Australian back-row forward was one of four Robins to make the Super League Dream Team last season after a hugely impressive 2009.
Galea enters his third season with Rovers, having previously made over 150 appearances for West Tigers where he was a teammate of Giants captain Brett Hodgson.
Although Michael Dobson gains so much of the praise for his ability to put his colleagues over for tries, the spadework is often done by Galea, whose efforts so often go unrewarded.