Rhys Lovegrove: 'Hull KR stars cut corners and let Craig Sandercock down'
HULL KR forward Rhys Lovegrove admits his side paid the price for players cutting corners last season.
The Robins missed out on making the play-offs for the first time in four years as an end-of-season slump saw them finish in 10th place.
And ahead of a return to training at Craven Park next week, Lovegrove says the players need to look at themselves first when identifying areas for improvement.
"It's fair to say we took short cuts last season, and for that reason, I expect this year's pre-season to be the toughest yet," Lovegrove told the Mail.
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"Rules are put in place for a reason and they cannot be bent. I expect it to be very strict from both the club and players' point of view this season."
Lovegrove identifies players failing to complete their 'wellness' assessments after training as an area in which they let themselves and their coaches down last season.
Players are asked to honestly assess the impact playing and training has had on their bodies.
The aim is to help coaches plan their management of fitness levels throughout the squad, but Lovegrove admits that coach Craig Sandercock had to chase them for details.
"We have a wellness sheet to fill out and these have to be completed properly for the coaches to get a true reflection of how we are after training sessions," he said.
"We have to self-police it and not have the coach come down on us like a tonne of bricks.
"Craig has enough on his plate without having to waste time chasing us to do things we should be doing any way.
"There were also other little things we did which were not good enough, perhaps simple things like not stripping down the weight bars after we use them in training. We shouldn't be leaving that to others."
The 25-year-old is preparing for his sixth pre-season at Rovers after joining in the middle of the 2007 campaign, and expects it to be the toughest ever.
But whilst he has been trying to rest ahead of the new season, he has been juggling fatherhood with studying for a degree, and raising the profile of local charity Jasmin's Dream with a sponsored hair and beard growing venture to send eight-year-old non-Hodgkin's lymphoma sufferer Jazmine Jones to Florida.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Rhys can do so by visiting uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RhysLovegrove. You can also follow his progress on Twitter @rhyshtl.