Sandercock is prepared for his baptism of fire

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AS starts to your first head coach role go, a trip to Super League champions Leeds Rhinos is certainly not the simplest.

It would be easy for new Hull KR chief Craig Sandercock to be slightly daunted by tonight’s visit to Headingley as he is also without his captain and star player.

However, the little-known Australian – an assistant at Newcastle Knights before taking over from Justin Morgan – has rarely done things in a standard manner.

So, the former economics teacher will not use the absence of Ben Galea and Blake Green as excuses ahead of his baptism of fire.

“To lose both for a significant amount of time is hard but problems are really opportunities waiting to happen,” said Sandercock.

“Two blokes are going to get a chance to play on Friday that normally wouldn’t and let’s hope they grab that with open arms and make a real good fist of it.

“Leeds have 10 players who currently, or in the past, have represented their country. We’ve one.

“But we’re all looking forward to it and playing the reigning champions will certainly be a good indicator of where we are at.”

Centre Craig Hall, utility Scott Murrell and hooker Lincoln Withers are all options to fill Green’s stand-off role but, regardless who plays, Sandercock has promised a new-found resilience.

“I like to play expansive but our defence needs tightening from last season and we’ve worked hard on that,” he said.