Terry O'Connor backs current Easter schedule on Boots 'n' All

Last Updated: 28/03/13 8:10am

O'Connor: Believes Easter schedule isn't an issue

Terry O'Connor rejected Hull KR boss Craig Sandercock's criticism of the busy Easter Super League schedule on Boots 'n' All.

Sandercock's Rovers defeated Castleford on Sunday but face a tough double header over the Easter weekend.

The Humberside outfit travel to local rivals Hull on Good Friday before a testing home clash with Wigan on Monday - and the coach has spoken out against his players facing three draining games in eight days.

"Clearly from a sports science point of view there's not enough time for rest. But, for us, the fans of the game, it's fantastic."

Jon Wells

Boots guest Jon Wells accepted that from a physiological point of view the run of fixtures wasn't ideal and saw where Sandercock was coming from when he compared the workload demanded of his men with the recent ban on the shoulder charge for player welfare.

"From Craig's point of view he hasn't got one of the biggest squads in the league in terms of numbers," said the former Castleford wing. "And he made a good point.

"Why ban the shoulder charge and cite player welfare as the reason to do that then let these big, aggressive athletes tear into each other 72 hours after they've all done it before?

"Clearly from a sports science point of view there's not enough time for rest - but, for us, the fans of the game, it's fantastic."


However, ex-Wigan ace O'Connor countered that, as the modern-day player receives so much care and attention, they are able to withstand the busy Easter demands.

"Good Friday and Easter Thursday are always going to be your derby games with a lot of energy thrown into them," he said. "Your bones will be aching and there will be a lot taken out of you, but you know you're going to be playing it.

"The teams with the bigger squads can rotate some of the players and at the end of the weekend there will be some coaches who are happy because they've got four more points.

"If you're going to talk about player welfare, look at Australia because you've got lads there that back up from a State of Origin game 24, 48 hours after.

"Our players are looked after, they are athletes, their diets are right, they're full-time professionals, they recover after every game. They get everything at the minute."

The Easter schedule sparks annual debate but Wells insists, despite the strain, in general, the players relish this time of the season.

"I don't think the players actually mind," he said. "I personally enjoyed it. It's more the coaches and the sport staff who have the concerns."