Hull KR captain Michael Dobson 'leading by example'
WHEN Craig Sandercock looked around his squad for a new captain, one man stood out as a clear leader for the role.
Michael Dobson is the Robins' natural leader on the field – always taking the responsibility of getting his side ticking.
Two months on, and on the club's warm-weather camp in Tenerife last week, it was clear to see Dobson is at ease in the role.
But the 26-year-old Aussie, who has another two years on his current deal at KR, puts that down to the quality professionals around him.
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"The players have made it pretty easy for me to captain them," Dobson told the Mail during their camp.
"They are doing the right things all the time and there are plenty of senior players around me too.
"It's good being captain, but nothing has really changed too much as to how I'm going to play. I just need to make sure I'm setting the right example off the pitch for the rest of the players, as well as on it."
Two of those players making life easier for their captain are new additions to the Robins' squad for 2013, former NRL stars Travis Burns and Cory Paterson.
Rovers' fans in particular are expecting great things from Dobson's partnership with Burns, who was brought to replace Blake Green.
Burns has been tipped to be an even better player than Green, but KR fans will have to wait to see the pair play together, as Burns serves the final four games of an NRL suspension at the season's start.
When he finally is available for the home game with Warrington on March 3, Dobson believes Burns' enthusiasm will add a new dimension to the team.
"My partnership with Travis is coming on well," Dobson said.
"I have been doing bits of training with him and bits with other players who may fill in for him when he misses the first four games of the season.
"I'm enjoying working with Travis as he is very infectious with his energy, which is really good."
As to who will replace Burns for those first four games, it remains to be seen.
Second rower Paterson could be the man, and if that is the case, Dobson has been pleased with what he has seen so far.
"I haven't done too much with Cory at stand-off, more with him in the second row," said Dobson.
"I think he will be a really good addition to the left edge though and I've been very pleased with what I've seen from him so far.
"Cory has brought his experience from the NRL to us."
Having brought their week's camp in Tenerife to a close on Saturday, Dobson has returned home for Christmas delighted with the progress made.
"I think we are ahead of training compared to this time last year," he said.
"With this being Sandy's second year as coach, most of the squad know what is expected of them this season.
"We have brought in a few new players, but we haven't had to go back to basics like we did last year, when we changed a lot.
"We are definitely ahead and I'd like to think that will help when the season starts."
It's the second year running Rovers have gone to Tenerife and Dobson feels the players responded better this time.
"The intensity in training was really good," he said.
"Everyone prefers to train in the warm weather and we have got a lot done.
"We did double sessions nearly every day, which we don't tend to do back home.
"It's been very beneficial in that respect."