Boasting a resume which has included stints at Manly, Newcastle, the Wests Tigers and with Hull KR in the English SuperLeague, incoming NRL assistant coach Craig Sandercock has been a welcome addition to the Sharks coaching team ahead of the 2020 season.
Having quietly gone about his business since linking with John Morris and the Sharks at start of the current pre-season campaign, Sandercock has hit the ground running, with his experience, work ethic and rugby league knowledge already a huge asset to the Cronulla squad.
Beating out a list of highly qualified coaches in gaining the appointment, Morris feels he has the right man in Sandercock to complement himself, returning assistant Dave Howlett and the Sharks NRL coaching group in 2020.
“I was very happy to add Craig to the coaching and high-performance team we have in place for 2020,” Morris said. “The boys have responded really well to his coaching in the short time he’s been with us and he has helped to raise the standard in our training intensity.
“As with all our new staff Craig was carefully selected, he comes highly respected with outstanding character and experience and has shown a strong work ethic, along with an excellent skill set and he has already played a big part in raising the bar and in helping our players maximise their potential.”
About to complete his seventh week in the role, Sandercock has thrown his support behind Morris while trying to also put his personal stamp on the Sharks pre-season preparations.
“I try to bring some new ideas, different approaches, but mainly (I’m here) to support John and support the boys, which hopefully results in a us having a good year,” Sandercock said.
As for the playing group, Sandercock likes what he sees and has been impressed by the effort and attitude being shown during this pre-Christmas training block.
“They’re a dedicated bunch of boys, we’ve made a few changes in the way we attack and defend, they’ve bought in and it’s been going well,” he said.
Sandercock’s coaching career began in modest circumstances as under-13’s development coach in the first year of a decade-long association with the Manly club. His talents then saw him progress through the ranks to where he was the Sea Eagles NSW Cup coach from 2007 to 2009.
In 2008 as second grade coach, Sandercock played a supporting role at the Sea Eagles, with the Manly club claiming the NRL title under the guidance of Des Hasler.
“That was a special year. I was reserve grade coach and both grades had really good seasons, capped off by the NRL winning the comp, so it was a special feeling,” Sandercock recalled.
Sandercock moved onto the Knights as an NRL assistant to Rick Stone in 2010 and 2011, with the Newcastle club qualifying for the finals in his second season, before taking up an opportunity in the English SuperLeague.
Appointed Head Coach at Hull Kingston Rovers, Sandercock oversaw the UK club for three seasons, returning to the Knights in 2015.
From there it was the Wests Tigers, where he worked under Jason Taylor, Ivan Cleary and then Michael Maguire, before bein gbeing appointed to his current position at the Sharks back in November.
“It’s been a quick seven weeks but we’re looking forward to the break, then to getting back into it in the New Year,” Sandercock added.
Sharks Media caught up with Sandercock following a training session earlier this week. See our Sharks TV interview.