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Glen Morrison answers Totalrl.com members' questions

Rams media release

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#1 Honor James

Honor James
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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:08 PM

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Rams head coach Glenn Morrison took time out from his busy pre-season schedule to answer questions posed my members of Dewsbury Rams' online forum community at TotalRL.com.

How confident are you that your recruits from the Super League Academy system can make the step up to Championship level? Netherton Ram

I’m very confident. Obviously I did my homework on the players and I’ve seen them all in action. In the 20s competition last year you were allowed five over-aged players in your team, so these boys we’ve recruited came up against the likes of Stuart Fielden, Richard Moore, Ian Kirke and Ryan Bailey – who all played 20s last year. They have that experience and the ones that we’ve got were the best of the bunch. Already at training, Aaron Brown is really shining above everyone and I’m excited to see how each of them goes.

Will you be making use of Bradford’s training facilities as part of our link-up with the club, and will joint training sessions take place? andyram

I’ve spoken to Francis Cummins and we’re looking at getting up to Tong, where they’ve got a very good wrestle room. The gym they have at their facility is also much better equipped than ours and we certainly intend on making use of that. There are the 3G pitches too, which I’ll look to take a few sessions on. We want to look after our own pitch and keep it in good condition for matches and this arrangement will allow us to do that. I spoke to Franny about getting at least one club session in before Christmas and we will try and work the partnership to our advantage in this respect as much as possible.

You’ve stated your desire for expansive rugby next season, but what will you be doing with regards to defence? Crown Flatter

I looked at the tapes from last year and even before I signed the contract to become coach, and I could tell straight away that the defensive system in place was very different from what I wanted. The players that are here from last year have realised that things are changing and they understand the importance of breaking old habits down and getting used to my system. You can play as expansive as you want, but you can also win a game 1-0, so the defensive structure is certainly something we’re playing close attention to, as well as the wrestle.

Is a Challenge Cup run high on your list of priorities? Kelsey The Ram

As a player, I went into every game wanting to win, I wasn’t interested in going out there just to compete, and I don’t think anyone could do that. As a coach, I am exactly the same and I’ll prepare for every game thinking we can win. I know we’re not going to win every single game, especially if we come up against a Super League club, but, whoever we get in the Cup, I’ll be aiming to take this team as far as it can go in the competition.

How do you foresee your coaching career in this country and elsewhere? Blind side johnny

As I said, I wanted to get as high as I could as a player and perform to the very best of my abilities, and I have taken that philosophy with me into coaching. I’ve coached for a long time but I still strive to be better. I don’t claim to know everything about the game, and I don’t think any coach does, so it’s important to take things on board. I’m lucky enough to have played under some of the best coaches in the game and I’ve tried to take the good from their methods and combine it with my own ideas. I want to go as high as I can in coaching and feel very much as though this is my apprenticeship and a crucial period for me. I have goals and hopefully I can achieve them.

Do you expect the flow of players into the British game from Australia and New Zealand to dry up over the next two years? Blind side johnny

I do. The exchange rate has gone down significantly compared to when I first came over to the UK, and the relative salary cap limits have also moved, which makes the NRL a very attractive prospect to a lot of professional players. I don’t think we’re going to see as many high-quality players coming over, I think we’ll see fringe players coming over and a lot of guys coming towards the end of their careers who can’t find a side in Australia. I also think you’ll see a lot more English players go the other way.

What do you make of how the English game is run? GoldDog

I think they’re trying and the set-up has changed to make things better. The step-up from under-20s to first team was very big when I first came over, but there’s a clearer pathway for players now and I think that’s a big improvement. In Australia, you can be confident that anybody you pick from a second-grade team could slot into the first-grade team very easily, whereas that isn’t the case in the UK. They’re trying to get on top of that with the partnership scheme by exposing players to open-age rugby earlier in their careers and I think that’s important.

How does the quality of rugby league marketing in Australia compare to the UK? GoldDog

It’s very hard when you’re competing with football, that occupies ten pages of the paper, when in Australia, it’s rugby league that occupies ten pages of the paper. I think they are getting there. There was a photo in one of the papers this week of the Manchester United boys holding the World Cup, and that’s great exposure for the game. It's clear that they’re trying, and I do believe that the standards are rising.

Who were the best players you played alongside and against? alienboy

That’s a tough one. When I first started, Ellery Hanley was at Balmain and he was a real quality player. He was coming towards the end of his career but he was still a very talented athlete. At representative level, I played with Andrew Johns and he was absolutely unreal. I think he’s one who changed the role of the halfback to what it is today. He’s the best I’ve played with.

Who has been the biggest influence on your coaching career to date? alienboy

I’ve had a few good coaches. The Australia coach, Tim Sheens, has won a lot of titles, and I was under him for a few years. I’ve played under three different coaches over here too, and each of them has their own style. I definitely learnt a lot under John Kear at Wakefield. At the Bulls, I worked under Steve McNamara and when I was injured I’d spend a bit of time in the coaching box, and that’s when I really started thinking about what I’d do after retirement and decided to set my mind on coaching. All of the coaches I’ve had have had an influence over how I’ve put my own coaching game together.

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