Sandercock out to redress balance and make Craven Park a fortress

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It is perhaps fitting that Hull KR start their new Super League season with a home fixture against Catalan Dragons tomorrow.

After all, that was where their last campaign took a turn for the worse from which they never recovered and 2013 is certainly now all about redressing the balance.

Rovers were heading towards a fifth straight win last June before, in the dying embers of the match, their French visitors somehow recovered to inflict a 13-10 defeat.

At the time, that alone did not seem so consequential but Craig Sandercock’s side never won at home again, enduring a raft of soul-destrying narrow defeats and tasting just one victory in their remaining nine games. That was at bottom-placed Widnes.

“We let our support down a little bit towards the back end of last year,” conceded the Australian, approaching his second term in charge at Craven Park.

“And we lost a few close games at home that we probably should have won.

“It’s no secret we were pretty competitive last season but we weren’t consistent enough to be a really good side.

“That’s something we’ve worked hard on in the off-season and, hopefully, we’ll turn those real tight games into wins for us this year.”

Rovers’ hopes of doing so tomorrow may be lessened, though, given they are shorn of the services of some key personnel.

Travis Burns, the controversial stand-off signed from Penrith Panthers, is banned for the opening four weeks as he completes a 12-game suspension carried over from the NRL last season.

Fellow new recruit Sean Gleeson, England ETS centre Kris Welham and Australian prop Ryan O’Hara are also sidelined injured.

But Sandercock insisted: “We’re pretty confident in the boys we’ve got.

“The good thing about the players we’ve signed, too, is they all really want to be at the club while us blooding so many youngsters last year means no-one will be making their debut this time; they’ve all played first-grade now and that’s hopefully going to benefit us.

“It should be a good game. I know Zeb Taia well from my time at Newcastle Knights and he’s a real class signing for Catalan just like Brent Webb, who they’ve got from Leeds.”