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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Hoping for all the best in 2013

I’LL start the column by wishing everyone all the best for 2013 – if we get a degree of the success we had last year on the playing side, I’m sure we will all be happy.

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Preparations for the new season practically started as soon as we finished the play-offs.

While the players were on a well-deserved rest, Holty and the directors of rugby were busy – with many late nights spent sorting contracts for new and existing players.

We knew there had to be a bit of recruiting to strengthen the squad for the Championship and hopefully we have got the right people in.

We already knew quite a bit about most of the guys we signed, while others whom we didn’t know too much about were given very good recommendations from well respected names in the game.

Most of the Lancashire lads already knew each other from playing together at Salford, so the bonding has been a lot easier.

When signing a player, we try and get a bit of background on them as a person. Like last year, we seem to have a good bunch together which can only help us in the long run.

As a group, we have a long-term target of where we think we can finish this season. If we get away to a decent start – again with your help, we can make Craven Park a fortress – and have a bit of luck keeping the squad fit, there is no reason why we can’t achieve our goals.

Last week, the action kicked off again with a friendly against Keighley Cougars.

The Cougars were a top-six play-off team last season, so it allowed us to see where we need to be at in terms of fitness, game pace etc.

Keighley, like ourselves, have had to recruit after losing a few old heads, so with them having new faces as well as coming off the back of a defeat to Halifax on Boxing Day, it was always going to be a decent run out.

Unfortunately the result didn’t go our way (23-20), but it has given the coaching staff a better idea of what we need to work on in training over the next few weeks.

This year we have a bit more size in our forward pack, which we realised we needed.

After Toaly (Dan Toal), Bruie (Andrew Dawson) was our next smallest forward – playing in this league we need a bit of strength and size in the middle of the park, added to that we will have some injured guys coming back to give us a bit of depth for a long season ahead.

One of the forwards who had a particularly strong game was Brad Brennan.

Brad has had a busy last couple of months juggling his rugby training with his other career, playing professional darts.

Unfortunately, Bradley Van Gerwen (Michael’s twin) couldn’t get the better of Phil Taylor in the final of the World Championships – at least he can fully focus on his rugby now!

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