Sandercock banking on record boost
Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock is hoping his side’s club-record Stobart Super League win over Castleford Tigers can inspire them to a derby-day success in Manchester tomorrow.
The Robins ran in 12 tries in a 70-12 blitz of the Tigers last weekend, setting themselves up nicely for their Magic Weekend clash with local rivals Hull FC at the Etihad Stadium.
Their build-up is in contrast to the last meeting with the Black and Whites on Good Friday when they suffered a 36-6 defeat just a week after going down to a last-minute defeat at Castleford.
And, having craved an 80-minute performance since he joined the club from Newcastle Knights in the winter, Sandercock hopes he has finally found the right formula for success.
“We will be going in with some momentum and confidence and we will need to,” he said.
“Hull FC are way ahead of us on the table and are playing well themselves and we are looking forward to putting in a much better performance than last time.
“It was pleasing to get 80 minutes for the first time against Castleford and it was pleasing to get a performance like that. We need to transfer that to the top sides and that’s what Hull are.”
Sandercock is excited by the concept of all 14 sides appearing at one venue over the course of a weekend and is hoping that playing at the home of the newly-crowned Premier League champions can inspire his players.
“It’s a very impressive stadium,” he said. “It’s a special place to be, especially after Manchester City won the Premier League.
“We’re really excited about it. It’s a special place this one and it’s a pleasure to be here.”
Hull coach Peter Gentle describes tomorrow’s game as the “toughest” of the five derbies on view this weekend.
“It’s a true city derby and, while we won the last one, it still took us a few weeks to get over the bruises and also the emotional high of the game,” he said.
“It’s not only the players who feel it emotionally, the whole city rides the rollercoaster with us.
“It’s a game you want to be involved in and there is no better game for us on the back of a disappointing performance against London (Broncos) last time out.”
Castleford coach Ian Millward is hoping the return of some familiar faces will help his side get their season back on track when they kick off the two-day jamboree against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
The Tigers, whose last win away from home was against the Wildcats on Good Friday, are reeling from that 70-12 mauling by Hull KR, after which the players issued a public apology.
Ryan McGoldrick remains suspended but half-backs Rangi Chase and Danny Orr are back while prop Paul Jackson is poised to make his first appearance of the season and winger Rhys Williams makes his debut.
“We played extremely well at Wakefield,” Millward said. “It was one of our best performances of the year.
“We’d beaten Hull KR the previous week. We’ve got to get back into a rhythm if we can.
“Having Rangi back will be massive for us. He’s been out for six weeks with all the breaks.
“I think having Danny back as well will make a big difference and we’re going to bring Jacko in, plus Rhys Williams. That gives us a bit more freshness.”
Wakefield coach Richard Agar admits the return of Chase, the reigning Man of Steel who has completed a three-match suspension, adds to the size of his team’s task.
“They are going to be a different team with him in there,” Agar said. “It is the Magic Weekend, it’s a big stage and a big stadium and he’s going to want to come back firing.”
Warrington Wolves stand-off Lee Briers promises there will be no complacency from his side as they prepare to take on struggling neighbours Widnes Vikings in the middle game tomorrow.
The Vikings are propping up the table with just two wins from their first 14 games and have conceded an average of 45 points a match so far.
“They’re down the ladder in the league but it’s still going to be a real tough game for us,” said Briers.
“They beat Wigan this year so we won’t be complacent, that’s for sure. We don’t deal in complacency. Not only do you disrespect the other team, you disrespect yourselves and the fans that come to the game.”
Warrington have skipper Adrian Morley back from a six-match injury absence while Briers returns, along with Trent Waterhouse and Joel Monaghan, after being rested for last week’s game at Wakefield.
“Obviously you want to be playing but, when the boss thinks it’s right to rest you, even though you argue your case, he’s always right,” said Briers.