Craig Sandercock says his Hull KR side will return stronger in 2013
HULL KR coach Craig Sandercock is confident his young side will come back stronger in 2013 after this season's experiences.
It has been a difficult first season for Sandercock, who has been frustrated by injuries and the failure to make the play-offs.
But he has been lifted by the promise shown by the club's emerging youngsters, which has seen a string of the club's reserves handed their debuts.
And with that in mind, he has urged fans to look deeper than simply their final league placing when analysing their season.
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"If I was sitting here talking about losing by 40 or 50 points every week then I'd be extremely concerned," Sandercock told the Mail.
"But if you look at the teams who have finished in the position we have in years gone by, few will have a positive points differential like us.
"We have blooded a lot of young kids and we need to turn those tight defeats into wins.
"We have put some new systems and structures in place that work and we are coming along with those.
"With a relatively injury-free season, we have the team to do well."
Rovers lost ten games by eight points or less this season, suggesting they are not that far away from where they need to be.
And Sandercock says that statistic identifies a clear area for focus going forward.
"We have thrown the ball around all season. We scored 36 points against Wigan so that indicates we are doing something right," he said.
"We need to play with more composure and make sure our attitude is right.
"We have to go in to games with the belief that we really want to win and do well."
This week's end-of-season awards ceremony brought down the curtain on a turbulent opening year as a head coach for Sandercock, who was brought to the club on a two-year deal.
The Aussie, who was an assistant at Newcastle Knights, was a surprise choice by the board, as a number of more experienced coaches were thought to be in the running at the time.
But Rovers said they had invested in a coach for the long-term, and someone who would focus on developing their young players into Super League stars.
And Sandercock has learned from the experience.
"It's been good and I've enjoyed it," he said.
"There have been a lot of challenges but I'm sure we'll train hard and fans will see a very committed side next year.
"We have been inconsistent this season and that is something we have to work hard on in the off-season."
Reflecting on the number of youngsters he has helped to bring through, he added: "The difference between playing in the under-20s and Super League is chalk and cheese, the step up is a great one. Unfortunately, we were not in a position to filter them through in small doses. But they played in some important games and they'll learn from that."