Hull KR's 'mental strength' key for Sandercock after Wigan fight back to win 42-36
Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock admits his side have to be mentally stronger after losing their ninth game this season by 10 points or less.
Rovers’ 42-36 loss to Wigan came after his side had raced into a 26-0 lead, and also held a 32-12 advantage in the second half.
Their lack of ability to put games to bed has proved costly this season, no more so than yesterday, as Wakefield’s victory over Widnes last night ended their chances of making the top-eight.
Now, Sandercock says learning how to finish to be on the right end of the scoreboard in close games is vital if KR are to progress.
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“We need to be mentally stronger and battle harder under fatigue and when the game is on the line,” Sandercock said.
“When you lose nine games by six points or less it’s disappointing. You’d like to think you could win four or five of them.
“All our kids are gaining from this experience and if they can learn and continue to work hard, they will have good careers ahead of them.”
Most of the damage done to his side came in the closing stages of each half.
Twice before the break they failed to stop the Warriors from scoring, then, in the final 12 minutes of the game, Wigan ran in four more tries to seal the win.
“All week we talked about the last five minutes of halves and we let them get 12 points before the break,” Sandercock said.
“Unfortunately that has been the story of our season and we need to work hard on that during the off-season and get next year off to a good start.
“They capitalised on some errors on tackle one. You can’t make errors against these top sides. We did and we paid the price.
“Our defence was disappointing at times but after 35 minutes I wouldn’t have said that.
“We have come a long way since they beat us pretty easily at their place not too long ago.
“We were disappointed at letting a couple of tries in that we would stop normally.
“I want to look at the positives which bode well for next season.
“We were pretty competitive and I’m very proud of my players because not many teams put 36 points on a team like a fully-fit Wigan.”
Sandercock admits his side were undone in the closing stages as a result of losing winger Dave Hodgson with a hamstring injury that now makes him a doubt for Saturday’s trip to London.
“Dave has torn his hamstring after scoring his try,” he said.
“That was significant because we had to juggle our edge and Wigan exposed us badly.”