Sandercock shows contempt for Easter with Hull KR team selection
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Sunday 31 March 2013
Craig Sandercock's jaundiced view of Super League's Easter programme is reflected in his team selection for the visit of the leaders today.
The Hull KR coach has been the most vocal of the chorus of disapproval that has become traditional from antipodean coaches when their teams have to play two matches in four days over the holiday weekend.
He claims that the League is failing in its duty of care towards players by perpetuating the system. Rovers won the Humberside derby on Friday, despite Sandercock leaving out his main play-maker, the former Wigan half-back, Michael Dobson, with a sore hamstring.
Sandercock also leaves out Travis Burns, the club's other Australian half-back, for this afternoon's match against Wigan with an accumulation of knocks.
Resting them at this stage looks suspiciously like writing off their chances of victory against the Warriors, especially as he has also rested David Hodgson and Cory Paterson.
The Robins' half-back conundrum is likely to see Craig Hall in that role today, alongside the 19-year-old debutant, Matty Beharrel, up against Wigan's Blake Green.
The success of Blake's partnership with Matty Smith is one of the reasons why Wigan are top of the heap. Another factor is how well they have coped with injuries in their front row, with no less than four regular props missing.
The latest to make his mark in their absence is Dom Crosby, who was a try-scorer and man of the match in the victory over St Helens on Good Friday. He retains his place in an unchanged 19-man squad.
Meanwhile, the Catalan Dragons will look to close the gap at the top when champions Leeds visit Perpignan later today. Both teams will make changes, although perhaps not as many as London Broncos, who leave out seven players from the team that lost to the Dragons for the trip to third-placed Warrington. The Wolves recall Brett Hodgson, Chris Bridge and Michael Monaghan.
Castleford, now bottom of the pile, make similarly sweeping changes at St Helens, who are still without Jonny Lomax and James Roby, but recall Joe Greenwood and Lance Hohaia. Salford recall Adam Walne from loan at Oldham for their trip to face Bradford Bulls .
Huddersfield hope to have Michael Lawrence available against Widnes for the first time this year after his ankle injury. Widnes could field an entire front row of young reserves with only two Super League appearances between them.
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