SO A highly-eventful season has now drawn to a close. What are your final reflections on the way it’s gone?
Overall, it has to go down as disappointing.
It’s the old adage, it’s not how you start it’s how you finish, and our finish speaks for itself.
And, unfortunately, that could be said about us over the past few years. That’s something that has to stop.
But I’m already absolutely for next season.
Yes, we are now having a period of reflection on what went on this season and reviewing what went right and what went wrong.
It’s something we, as a coaching staff, have spent the past couple of days working on, and we’re now looking at our future recruitment policy, putting new systems in place and gearing up for the start of pre-season training.
It’s been a busy week, then?
Yes, and it’s also not finished for the players, too!
They’ll be back in tomorrow for a day of training, which I don’t think any of them was expecting!
In fact, I know they all found out together when they were having a beer on Monday.
They would all have heard a beep on their mobile phones and found out they needed to check back in at the end of the week.
I’m sure that was a real shock to their system, although I’m also sure it wouldn’t have stopped them having another beer, though!
The plan tomorrow is for the players to have tests in regard to their physique, body composition, body fat, skin fold and weight.
These are all measurable things, with the players challenged to build on these, because when we played our last game (the play-off defeat at Hull) the opposition gave it to us physically, and that’s something we need to look at extremely closely.
You say you’re still looking towards recruitment. In why areas are you looking to strengthen?
Two areas in particular.
We need to try and keep building up around the middle, while we also definitely need one or two halves as well in order for us to be a bit more creative.
But we are more than happy with our outside backs, where we’re looking pretty good and have genuine strength.
That was reflected in the fact that someone of the quality of Aaron Murphy didn’t have a look-in in the last few games.
On top of that, we’ve got Matty Dawson determined to feature more regularly after making his Super League debut at Warrington the other week.
Then, of course, we’ve got Greg Eden who has burst onto the scene this season.
Having said that, we didn’t see Greg in the last few games. Was that a reflection of his ability at all?
Not at all.
It was a reflection on his form rather than his ability, which we all know he has in abundance.
Yet when it comes to form or lack of it, he obviously wasn’t alone there, was he?
We made a change for the Leeds game (when Greg didn’t feature) and it worked for a week, but unfortunately it didn’t work for two.
I’ve obviously spoken to Greg about his non-selection and fully explained the reasons why. He knows it’s not a reflection on him at all.
He’s played 27 first-team games this season, and at the start of this season I’m sure he’d have been over the moon if he’d just played four or five.
The key now is for Greg to build himself some standards, and he clearly knows what he has to do.
It’s been announced this week that senior players David Fa’alogo, Tommy Lee and Scott Moore have left the club. How disappointed are you that they couldn’t be retained?
It is sad to see them go. You never like it when you can’t offer a player a new contract.
It’s certainly not the way we’d have liked it to end for Doof (Fa’alogo), who’s been so unlucky with injuries in the three years he’s been here.
If you look at his career in the Australian NRL, he hardly picked up an injury and very seldom missed a game.
So for him to come here and pick up the injuries – and of the serious nature they were – is hugely disappointing, as much as for Doof as ourselves.
You could see when he did put games together how much ability he had, and I thought he was very good early on against Hull.
But it’s just we were never able to see the very best of him, which was extremely sad.
When it came to Tommy, he knows how much I’d have loved him to stay.
He wanted to get some stability in his life, which he hasn’t been able to do so far in his career because he’s changed that many clubs.
I desperately wanted to keep him, but we couldn’t match some offers he received from other clubs and he’s been allowed to move on with our full blessing.
I really am sorry to see him go, because he’s a good lad and he’d have complemented what we’ve already got in the squad very well.
In the case of Scotty Moore, it was always going to be difficult coming to us mid-season, and it’s been difficult for him to feature on a more regular basis.
He’s been unlucky in terms of selection in recent times.