The axe swung on Craig Sandercock four years ago today, as Hull KR sacked their head coach.
With seven games won from 19 in the 2014 Super League season, the Australian was shown the door. Though Sandercock was in negotiations over a new deal at Craven Park, Rovers pulled the plug as expectations failed to be reached.
Arriving for the 2012 campaign, Sandercock was a relative unknown having been plucked from Newcastle Knights’ coaching staff to take the reins in east Hull.
Leading KR to a tenth-placed finish in his debut campaign, Sandercock improved upon that result in 2013 ending the campaign in eighth spot, though their play-offs were over in the first round after a heavy defeat at St Helens.
Rovers had anticipated to mount a charge for the play-offs again the following year but just a couple of months before the end of the campaign, Sandercock’s tenure came to an end after two-and-a-half years.
“Hull Kingston Rovers can confirm they have parted company with head coach Craig Sandercock with immediate effect,” said a club spokesman at the time.
“The club has made the decision not to renew Craig’s contract in 2015 and with that in mind have placed Chris Chester in charge of first-team duties initially until the end of the season whilst a full review of all off-field operations is carried out.
“The club would like to thank Craig for all his hard work over the last three years and wishes him well in the future.”
Chester took over for the remainder of the season, and signed a deal to become the club’s head coach shortly after.
But what happened to Sandercock?
In November 2014, he was handed his old job back at Newcastle Knights, working under Rick Stone.
“(Hull KR) was a really good experience,” Sandercock told Knights TV. “It’s a bit different over there but it was a massive learning curve for me and hopefully I’ve brought a few little things back here to the Knights.”
But things didn’t go exactly to plan in 2015 for the Knights – they collected the wooden spoon in the NRL campaign winning just a third of their 24 games. That aforementioned axe was brought out of the cupboard once more.
On the move again
As such, Sandercock searched for a new job, this time linking up with Wests Tigers and becoming Jason Taylor’s right-hand man.
Wests won 11 of their 24 fixtures in the 2016 campaign, just missing out on the Finals series by a point.
In March 2017, Taylor was sacked by Wests – but Sandercock kept his job. Coincidentally, one of KR’s former assistant coaches Andrew Webster took interim charge of the Tigers whilst Taylor’s successor was appointed.
Eventually, Ivan Cleary was awarded the post the following month, and Sandercock remains at the club to this day.
More recently, he’s said to have played a big role in convincing Robbie Farah to return to Wests for the 2018 campaign, and the Tigers currently sit tenth in the NRL ladder after 16 games played.
Craig Sandercock’s Super League winning record at Hull KR
73 games coached
30 games won (41%)