WITH the sold-out signs set to go up, a stadium record attendance at Craven Park confirmed and some impressive recruitment completed, there is a freshness about Hull KR as they embark on their 2014 campaign.
As of yesterday morning, there were just 400 tickets left for tomorrow’s game with Leeds Rhinos and the East Yorkshire club have already sold enough to know it will definitely beat their previous best crowd of 10,250 against Hull FC in 2011.
That was one of just three occasions in the ground’s 25-year history that there has been an attendance of more than 10,000 inside and head coach Craig Sandercock admits his squad are savouring the prospect that lies ahead.
“It will be pretty special,” he said.
“The players appreciate that and it is something they will remember for the rest of their careers.
“But we can’t wait for the actual start. We have trained well in pre-season and the boys have done all the right things.
“Hopefully, it will be a good performance on Sunday.
“We have sat down over the last couple of years and slowly rebuilt the squad and we believe we’ve got one now that’s the best it’s been since I’ve been here.
“More importantly, we’ve got a bit of depth and we are really confident we will do well.”
Sandercock, who arrived from Newcastle Knights at the end of 2011, realised he had to get more numbers in his squad given the scale of injuries that blighted last term.
Rovers did well, considering, to finish eighth but it was no surprise when they were immediately jettisoned from the play-offs at St Helens.
In come Michael Weyman (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Neville Costigan (Newcastle), Kris Keating (Canterbury Bullodgs), Jamie Langley (Bradford Bulls), Kevin Larroyer (Catalan), Jonathan Walker (Castleford) and Wakefield Trinity duo Ben Cockayne and Justin Poore.
All are expected to debut tomorrow, winger Cockayne doing so for a second time after his productive previous spell with the Robins, and, for once, Sandercock has few injury problems to contend with.
Jason Netherton (back) and Sean Gleeson (broken leg) are out but Australian stand-off Travis Burns, who will be expected to take on added responsibility following Michael Dobson’s return to the NRL, is his only other doubt.
“Travis is probably 50-50,” he said, the player currently recovering from shoulder surgery.
“Every day he is getting better. He has done some contact and if there’s no reaction he will play.
“If not, we are really confident he will be right for the next round.”