With the start of the Super League season just around the corner, Hull Kingston Rovers, more commonly known as Hull KR, are excited and ready for the season to begin.
With a solid team and a decent portion of new players at the helm, after a re-shuffle of sorts – coach Craig Sandercock believes that if the team plays to the best of their ability, they can perform well this year.
“I’m confident that if we do play the best we can, we’ll be there or thereabouts,” said Sandercock.
With former Canberra Raiders half Michael Dobson in the crucial position of halfback, he is eager to see how the team will gel, as well as seeing how some of the younger players will perform as they get more game-day experience.
“There’s nothing like game experience, so when we’re stuck into the season, they’re going to get more experience and I’m looking forward to seeing how they’re gonna go” says Dobson.
Josh Hodgson also knows the value of gelling as a unit, given the high turnover of players that have left as well as come in, but he is confident that the side can maintain the level of chemistry from the last few years.
“People have come and gone obviously, there’s a few leave and a fair few come, but I think somehow or somewhere along the line, I don’t know how we’ve done it, but we’ve kept that good chemistry in the squad,” said Hodgson.
Like with any side that brings in a good number of players, the possibility remains that cohesion goes out the window and the team struggles to gel, but Sandercock is pleased with the players the club brought in and those they have at their disposal.
“I’m pretty pleased with all those players that have been brought on board, and the most pleasing thing for me as a coach, is that they genuinely want to be here at Hull Kingston Rovers,” said Sandercock.
“They’ve signed on for less money than they could have gotten at other clubs and it’s exciting to have them here, and hopefully they’ll be injury free and contribute well to our team.”
With new recruit Travis Burns to miss the first four games of the season due to his impending suspension from the NRL, Dobson is looking forward to playing alongside a fellow Australian in the halves.
“Trav’s (Travis Burns) a good guy and we travelled in together, so he’s going to miss the first four games, so we’ve been training with 4 different partners to make sure we’re covered with that,” said Dobson.
“I’m looking forward to when he does come back and being able to play with him – he’s a quality player that’s played a lot of NRL and it’s going to be interesting to see how we go.”
With a tough off-season drawing to a close, Hodgson believes that the club have the right players at the club to challenge top sides, with players chomping at the bit to get on the field for their season opener.
“I think they’ve fit in really well, everyone’s slotted in fine and they’ve picked up the style of play that we play,” says Hodgson.
“They’ve mixed in with the lads really good and I think we’ve made some really good additions to the squad, and it’s going to be a good year for us hopefully.”
“We’ve worked really hard in the off-season and it’s been a pretty tough and pretty brutal off-season, but I believe in Paul and we’re raring to get going.”
“Your pre-season is your foundation – if you don’t have a good pre-season under your belt, I don’t think you’re going to do too much throughout the year.”
“I think that’s what a lot of teams believe in, that if you have a tough, good stint in pre-season, that builds a foundation for you to crack on with.
With big expectations placed on the club by the fans every year, Sandercock knows that results are expected of him, but that the only pressure he faces, is the pressure on himself.
“The only pressure comes from myself to work as hard as I can and for us as a team to play the best that we can, and that’s all that we can do,” said Sandercock.